|2004 News Archive|
News & Updates
Saturday, November 20: News Tidbits. Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment has set a February 8 release date for Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II. They will be presented in anamorphic widescreen, with both the original Japanese audio and English dub tracks. Optional English and French subtitles will be included, and the only extras will be trailers for other CTHE releases. Can another 3-pack be far behind? In other Toho-related news, ADV Films has announced the details of Gunhed, coming on November 30. The disc will be dual language (Japanese and English 2.0), with English subtitles, the film's Japanese theatrical trailer, and ADV previews. MSRP is $19.98. Here is the official press release. Finally, on the Western front, here are some specs on the wonderful Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: Separate anamorphic widescreen and fullscreen versions will be available, each with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras include 5 behind-the-scenes featurettes (on the production, special effects, animation, and more), the original short that inspired the film, deleted scenes, a gag reel, and more. It's coming on January 25 from Paramount Home Entertainment. It sounds like a good disc, but if you haven't seen the film yet, I highly recommend catching it on the big screen first (check your local discount / dollar theater). It's definitely worth it. Look for Godzilla's quick cameo!
Thursday, November 18: Godzilla Final Stuff. A review of the Godzilla Final Battle DVD is now online. This disc was given to fans in Japan who bought advance tickets to Godzilla: Final Wars. It includes behind-the-scenes FX footage, and film clips promoting the upcoming Godzilla Final Box DVD set.
Speaking of Final Wars, the newest G-film is set to have its world premiere in Hollywood USA! I've made a new page detailing all of the special events surrounding this milestone. Check out the Godzilla's 50th Anniversary in Hollywood page for info on the Christmas Parade float, the Walk of Fame ceremony, and of course the GFW premiere.
Speaking of the Final Box, the only way to get it is by preordering. Amazon.co.jp is accepting reservations through January 11, and their price of 79,800 yen is a substantial savings over MSRP. DMI is now an Amazon.co.jp affiliate, so if you follow a link from this site to place an order, we earn some yen. Domo arigato!
Tuesday, November 9: Toho Shock! In the wake of the news that The Mysterians is coming out on DVD in January from Tokyo Shock (a division of Media Blasters), rumors have been circulating about other Toho films the company may release. Jim Gange (MaserCity's one and only Pimp) went straight to the source, and has some good news to report. Media Blasters has confirmed via email that they have acquired Varan the Unbelievable, Dogora, and Matango: Attack of the Mushroom People. There are no specific details available yet. Presumably, the films will be released on DVD sometime in 2005. Stay tuned for updates! UPDATE 12/12: The Right Stuf lists March 15 as the release date for Matango. DVD Drive-In lists Space Amoeba as another MB acquisition.
Sunday, November 7: Harryhausen for Xmas! This holiday season, Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment will package all of their previously-released Harryhausen DVDs in two new The Fantastic Films of Ray Harryhausen box sets. Coming first on November 30, the Legendary Science Fiction Series Box Set will include: It Came from Beneath the Sea, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, 20 Million Miles to Earth, Mysterious Island, and First Men in the Moon. Then, coming on December 28, the Legendary Monster Series Box Set will include: Jason and the Argonauts, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, and The 3 Worlds of Gulliver.
Wednesday, November 3: Happy Birthday, Godzilla! Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Japanese theatrical release of the original Godzilla film in 1954. This was truly the birth of a legend, as Godzilla would go on to star in a total of 29 films, all (save one) from Toho Studios in Japan. The big G's 50-year movie career is unmatched, even by the most prolific American film character, James Bond. Godzilla has also been in more films than Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Michael Myers combined. The Godzilla series will culminate with the late-2004 release of Godzilla: Final Wars. Whether GFW will be the final G-film or not, Godzilla will always be forefront in the hearts and minds of his many fans around the world. Happy birthday, big guy!
UPDATE 11/4: Here is a picture of a birthday cake Jen made to celebrate the occasion. Yummy!
Thursday, October 28: UNCUT Godzilla 1954 in Region 1! According to a snippet in USA Today, Classic Media will release the uncut Japanese version of the original 1954 Gojira on DVD sometime in 2005. No release date or specific details are available yet. Many thanks to Matt Paprocki of The Digital Press classic video game site for providing this scan of the small article.
Thursday, October 28: The Mysterians are Coming! Amazon.com is listing a January 25 release date for the 1957 Toho classic The Mysterians. This Showa space-invader film is a fan favorite, and it includes the debut of the robot monster Mogera. (A retootled version would later appear in Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla and the upcoming Godzilla: Save the Earth video game.) The Mysterians DVD is being released by Media Blasters under their Tokyo Shock label. UPDATE 12/12: According to The Right Stuf, the DVD will be dual language English / Japanese.
Saturday, October 23: An Explanation. Over the past several days, I've received some negative feedback via email about the October 17 update ("Screwed by Sony"). Two common misconceptions are: That Sony's Mike Schlesinger promised the uncut Godzilla 2000 on the 10/19/04 release, and that I was disrespectful to Mr. Schlesinger in general. On the first point, I believe I made it clear that Mike's promise applied only to the film's original DVD release in December of 2000. To the best of my knowledge, he has not commented publicly on this week's releases. It was Sony's product pages for the 5- and 7-disc sets that listed the G2K disc as dual-langauge for 10/19. I only brought this point up to illustrate how ridiculous it was for Sony the company (not Mike in particular) to make the same mistake on the same title four years later.
As for the second point: It was not my intention to "bash" Mike Schlesinger, though some people have read it that way. I was merely reporting what he said in 2000 because I thought it was a relevant point of comparison. I did not impugn his entire career. On the contrary, I have a great deal of respect for the things he has done to promote Godzilla in the U.S. As (uncredited) producer, he improved the mediocre Japanese G2K into a version worthy of U.S. theatrical release. (FYI, Toho themselves prefer his edit of the film.) I understand that he does not personally oversee Sony's home video releases. So if I have offended Mr. Schlesinger, I offer my sincere apologies. I would also like to thank him for preparing the U.S. theatrical release of G2K, and for working to keep Godzilla on Sony's radar in the years since then.
It has also been insinuated that I do not properly "appreciate" Sony's DVD releases. This is also not true; I generally think it's good that they're making these films available. However, in my role as a DVD reviewer, it is my responsibility to offer my sincere opinion on the actual products that are offered to consumers. The quality of Sony's Godzilla DVDs is a mixed bag, and I review each of them individually, on their own merits. Yes, I ridiculed Sony for using dubtitles on their Godzilla vs. Megaguirus and GMK DVDs; I also praised them for finally "getting it right" with Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla. When I review their recent releases, I will be happy to sing whatever praises they earn. I will also not hesitate to call them on any mistakes or lacking quality. I am currently working on reviewing all of Sony's Godzilla releases, and when I post them, you can expect the kind of honest opinion that this site's reputation is built on. Thank you.
Saturday, October 23: Sad News, Smoggie. On October 22, Siren Visual Entertainment of Austrailia had planned to release a double feature of Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (AIP dubbed version) and Rodan. This disc has now been delayed to November 22, and GvSM has been dropped. Mike D., who had preordered the disc directly from Siren, forwarded DMI this explanation from the company: "Unfortunately, Smog Monster is not included in the Godzilla DVD due to not being able to obtain the masters so it will only be released as Godzilla vs. Rodan [that's the title Siren is using for now] ... Release is set for 22 Nov 2004." This is too bad, as the AIP GvSM has been unavailable on video for many years. Here is Siren's updated product page.
Wednesday, October 20: Congratulations, Kikaida! With the recent (10/19) release of Kikaida Volume 9, Hawaii-based JN Productions have reached a milestone: Toei's Kikaida is the first tokusatsu series to be released in its entirety on region 1 DVD! (The red & blue android beat the red & blue giant, Ultraman Tiga, by less than a month.) Just for the record, the nine Kikaida DVD volumes present the series' 43 episodes remastered and uncut, in the original Japanese language with optional English subtitles. Plenty of extras (such as interviews, character profiles, cast & crew bios, and even karaoke!) are included, and even the menus are dual-language. Volume 9 also includes the Kikaida theatrical 3-D movie, and two pairs of 3-D glasses. Kikaida is not only first, but also a shining example of how to do it right.
JNP isn't finished, though: On October 28, they will release a Kikaida Deluxe Box Set, including all nine volumes, and a slide with an actual 35mm film frame from the movie. Fans who have been buying the individual DVDs won't be left out, however. The box and film slide will also be sold separately. Both box configurations are available exclusively through the online store at the Generation Kikaida website. For more info on Volume 9 and the boxes, check out the official press release. JNP is also planning to release Kamen Rider V3 (which returned to the airwaves in Hawaii earlier this year) on DVD in late 2005. Henshin! Switch on!
Sunday, October 17: Screwed by Sony! Reports have been trickling in from people who have found Sony's October 19 Godzilla releases on store shelves a few days early, and the news regarding Godzilla 2000 is not good. It turns out the G2K DVD included in the 5- and 7-disc box sets is in fact the same one that's been available for years. It does NOT contain the uncut Japanese version. This is contrary to what has previously been reported here and on other kaiju news sites (as well as on Sony's own product page!), and it has been confirmed by Henshin! Online's Keith Aiken on several online forums. Sony's G2K DVD remains dub only; so adjust your purchasing plans accordingly.
Please pardon my French for a moment, but is this Sony's idea of a f***ing joke?!? Back when G2K was first released on DVD (in December 2000), Sony executive Mike Schlesinger (who produced the U.S. version of G2K) insisted the Japanese version would be included on the disc. When DVD news sites continued to report that the DVD was dub only, he referred to this info as an "urban legend." I honestly did not know what to expect from the disc until I went to the store. It turned out those sites had better info than one of the company higher-up's. Now, almost four years later, they still can't get their story straight. At least any G-Fans suffering from the sorry state of the economy can apply to be fact checkers at Sony. They obviously need some.
Wednesday, October 13: Sony Marches On.... Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment has a new Godzilla page to promote their many upcoming releases. They also have a video preview page. The preview trailer announces Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster as "coming soon," though no specific details are given. (Early 2005 perhaps?) Stay tuned for updates!
Wednesday, September 29: Godzilla for Xmas! On December 14, Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment will release two more Godzilla films on DVD. First up is 2003's Godzilla: Tokyo SOS. Then it's back to the old school for Son of Godzilla. Both discs will be available separately, or in a Godzilla Collection 3-disc box set along with Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. Expect the two new discs to follow the usual Sony pattern: Anamorphic widescreen, Japanese and English audio, English and French subtitles, and probably no extras beyond trailers. Start making your lists! UPDATED 10/15: Tokyo SOS is set to include a Toho-produced behind-the-scenes featurette.
Sunday, September 19: November Previews. Andy Simon has checked out the latest issue of Previews magazine, and has some news on November DVD releases. First of all, the Princess Blade Special Edition upcoming from ADV Films on November 9 will be a 2-disc set. There is no info yet on what extras will be included. ADV will also be releasing Toho's Gunhed on DVD November 30. All four volumes of Android Kikaider: The Animation will be bundled together and released in a "perfect collection" box set (also on the 9th), and Ultraman Tiga Volume 4: Inheritance of Darkness will be a spiffy-looking gold disc. Good news all around!
UPDATE 10/9: According to ADV Films' official press release, extras on the Princess Blade SE include: Documentaries on the making of the film, the special effects, and the action scenes (with action director Donnie Yen); cast & crew interviews, behind the scenes, deleted scenes, outtakes, and ADV previews. Now, let's just hope for an anamorphic transfer.
Wednesday, September 8: Godzilla Returns to Australia. After demolishing Sydney in Final Wars, Godzilla will be making several return engagements down under. First, on October 22, Siren Visual Entertainment will unleash another region free / PAL double feature disc. This one will include Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster and Rodan. Both will be fullscreen and English dubbed. It's unknow whether or not Smog Monster will in fact be the long unavailable AIP version. The chances are good, since Siren's version of Destroy All Monsters is the AIP dub. Then, Aussie DVD retailer EzyDVD has a listing for a Godzilla Special Edition coming out on October 26 from AV Channel. It includes both the subtitled 1954 Japanese Gojira, and the 1956 U.S. version Godzilla: King of the Monsters (with Raymond Burr). This disc is listed as region 4 PAL on EzyDVD's product page. (Many thanks to Blade Galentine for the GSE scoop!) UPDATE 9/10: DMI reader Mike D. was told by a Siren rep via email that Smog Monster is the AIP version, with the English rendition of "Save The Earth." Great news!
Friday, August 20: Godzilla on the Air. Tomorrow afternoon (Saturday, August 21, 3:00 pm EST, 2:00 pm Central), the Here on Earth show on Wisconsin Public Radio will air a program examining Godzilla as a pop-culture icon, and the deeper socio-political aspects of the character and films. The guests will be: David Kalat, author of A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series; and Dr. Bill Tsutsui, Associate Professor of Japanese History at the University of Kansas, and author of the upcoming Godzilla on My Mind. For more information about the show, and how anyone can listen in via the internet, visit WPR's Here on Earth page. UPDATE 8/23: The show will be re-broadcast tonight at 9:00 pm EST, 8:00 pm Central. It is also archived at the WPR site, so you can listen to it anytime. (Shout out to Kaiju Online webmaster Nadeem Gulam, who called in!)
Tuesday, August 10: Sony Lets it All Hang Out! Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment has officially announced their October Godzilla releases. As previously reported here, Godzilla vs. Hedorah, Godzilla vs. Gigan, and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla are making their region 1 DVD debuts on October 19. MSRP is $24.96 each. On the same date, CTHE will also release three Godzilla box sets! The Godzilla DVD Collection 3-disc set will include Godzilla vs. Hedorah, Godzilla vs. Gigan, and Godzilla (1998). MSRP is $53.95. The Godzilla DVD Collection 5-disc set will include Godzilla vs. Hedorah, Godzilla vs. Gigan, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, Godzilla '98, and Godzilla 2000 Special Edition. MSRP is $92.95. The Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Godzilla! 7-disc set will include Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah / Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth Double Feature, Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla / Godzilla vs. Destoroyah Double Feature, Godzilla '98, Godzilla 2000 Special Edition, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus; Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack; and Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla. MSRP is $121.95. UPDATE 8/13: Some more info on disc specs is now available. Hedorah, Gigan, and MG '74 will be uncut, in anamorphic widescreen, with both the international English dub tracks, and the original Japanese language, with English and French subtitles. Godzilla 2000 will include the uncut Japanese version of the movie, in Japanese 5.1 with English subtitles, on one side of the disc. The other side (with the U.S. version of the movie) remains the same. The other discs will be identical to the versions already available. It is unknown if the new G2K SE will also be available separately, but it is likely. Sony's original disc was recently available in Wal-Mart bargain bins at a big discount, so it seems this new SE is meant to replace it completely.
Tuesday, August 10: News Roundup. It has been reported that Sony has acquired North American distribution rights to Toho's most recent Godzilla film, Godzilla: Tokyo SOS. Presumably, they plan to release the film on region 1 DVD, though no details are available yet. It has been widely rumored to be part of CTHE's October releases, but no official announcement has been made, and it is conspicuously absent from the many box sets already announced.
In related news, Tokyo Monsters webmaster James Ballard reports that Tokyo SOS won't be released on region 3 DVD by Universe Laser & Video. When he inquired about the title, James received an email reply from a Universe rep stating that another comany has acquired the title, and plans a theatrical release in Hong Kong. While this is certainly good news for HK residents, some western G-fans will likely be disappointed. Importing Universe's subtitled R3 discs of the Millennium Godzilla films has become an annual tradition for many.
Another DVD that is MIA is the fourth and final volume of Ultraman Tiga, entitled Inheritance of Darkness. The last announced date for this title was August 10, but the disc has failed to materialize. UPDATE 8/15: According to The Right Stuf, the release date is November 9. Thanks to Wayne B. for the tip!
Like the previous 7/25 update, this one also ends with some sad news. Actress Fay Wray, best known for her role in the original 1933 classic King Kong, passed away Sunday, August 8. She was 96. This Yahoo page has links to many related news stories, and here is her filmography from the IMDb.
Saturday, July 31: Octoberzilla. Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment's October releases have been reported on the DVD Talk Forums. On October 19, they will release Godzilla vs. Hedorah, Godzilla vs. Gigan, and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. Also mentioned are 5- and 7-disc Godzilla sets, presumably including some combination of these new releases and other CTHE Godzilla titles. No specific details are available yet; so stay tuned for updates. Let's hope this is no trick, and the disc specs are a treat!
Sunday, July 25: Gamera: The Good, the Bad, and the Sad. For those kaiju fans who may not have yet picked up the excellent Heisei Gamera trilogy on DVD, ADV Films has a treat for you. On September 28, they will release the Gamera Complete DVD Collection. This will be a limited-edition box set including Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, Gamera 2: Attack of Legion, and Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris. The DVDs will come in a box with new artwork; different from the Custom Art Box released with GOTU previously. The DVDs themselves are assumed to be identical to the ones already available. MSRP is $39.98. The set is available for preorder at Amazon.com (for under $35 and with free shipping), where you can also see the new box design. UPDATE 8/23: According to Fangoria, the discs come in a textured "metallic" box. Cool! Also, here is ADV's official press release. UPDATE 10/12: The box is textured, but not metallic. There are a few differences in the disc specs: The English audio on GOTU has been upgraded to 5.1, and the "Lake Texarkana Gamera" gag on G2 has been expanded into a feature-length alternate audio track. G3 remains unchanged.
Two bad Showa Gamera box sets have recently become available from Diamond Entertainment. Entitled Japanese Monster Movies Collector's Edition, each set includes four movies on two discs for cheap. Volume 1 includes Gammera the Invincible, War of the Monsters, Attack of the Monsters, and Destroy All Planets. Volume 2 includes Gamera vs. Zigra, Gamera vs. Monster X, Gamera vs. Gaos, and Monster from a Prehistoric Planet. Except for the two Sandy Frank versions included in Volume 2, these are been-there done-that sets. They are now available at FYE stores, and will probably pop up in other places soon enough. Please check out the reviews before buying either of these cut-rate collections.
Some very sad Gamera-related news has recently been reported. On June 14, Noriaki Yuasa passed away from a stroke. Mr. Yuasa directed all of the Showa Gamera films, except for 1966's Gamera vs. Barugon (aka War of the Monsters), on which he served as director of special effects. Like many fans, I first saw Yuasa-san's work at an early age, and I continue to enjoy his movies today. Mr. Yuasa was a special guest of honor at G-Fest X. I'm very glad I had the opportunity to meet him, and to tell him how much I appreciate his films. He seemed like a genuinely nice man who was happy that fans around the world enjoy his movies. One of the great figures in tokusatsu history is no longer with us, and he will be missed. Here is Mr. Yuasa's filmography from the IMDb. Here are DMI reviews of the original Japanese versions of his Gamera films: Gamera, Gamera vs. Gyaos, Gamera vs. Viras, Gamera vs. Guillon, Gamera vs. Jiger, Gamera vs. Zigra, and Gamera: Super Monster.
Thursday, June 21: Final Box Final Update! The Japanese Toho Video site now has an updated product page for the upcoming Godzilla Final Box pre-order only limited edition box set, including artwork and photos. Here's what to expect: This will be a 30-disc box set, containing all 27 Japanese Godzilla films, from the original 1954 Gojira to last year's Godzilla: Tokyo SOS. The three extra discs will contain: The 1956 American version of Godzilla: King of the Monsters (with Raymond Burr); the musical programs Godzilla Fantasia and Legend of Godzilla, and supplemental materials. There will also be a placeholder for the upcoming 50th anniversary film Godzilla: Final Wars, so when that film is available on DVD it will fit right in the box with all of the others. Excellent planning ahead! The set will also include a full-color booklet with poster reproductions. Finally, the set will include a vinyl 1954 Godzilla head sculpted by Fuyuki Shinada, monster designer / suit builder for GMK. The features and specs of each disc are the same as the previously released versions. In the case of films that were originally released as multi-disc special editions (such as the millennium films Godzilla 2000, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, and GMK) the box set version will be identical to the movie disc. It's possible that the bonus discs will contain supplements carried over from the SE's. Unfortunately, there are no English subtitles; the discs will be Japanese only. A big disappointment there. The movie discs will be in slim cases (to conserve space), and the 3 extra discs will share a single larger case. All of the discs will be region 2 and NTSC format. Retail price is 95,000 yen (about $890 U.S.). This set is available by pre-order only. Amazon.co.jp is accepting pre-orders now; here is their GFB product page. Note their price is discounted to 79,800 yen; a substantial savings. The pre-order deadline is January 11, and the set will be released April 22, 2005. Click here for a picture of this monumental box set, and click here to see the total package.
Monday, June 14: Begun the Monster War Has. Sony continues the Godzilla 50th anniversary festivities by finally bringing Godzilla: The Series to DVD. Originally broadcast on Fox Kids in 1998 and 1999, the series picked up after the events of the U.S. Godzilla film. It followed the adventures of a Godzilla hatchling that bonded with Nick Tatopoulos (Matthew Broderick's character in the film), and travelled the world fighting other monsters. This first volume will be called The Monster Wars Trilogy. As the title suggests, this disc will contain the three-episode "Monster Wars" story arc. Many of the series' previous monsters (as well as the corpse of the original 1998 Godzilla, re-animated as a cyborg), return to action at the command of alien invaders. This Destroy All Monsters-inspired scenario is widely considered the series' high point. It's too bad Columbia Tristar isn't just releasing the entire series as a single collection. It's also a bit puzzling, as TV season collections are some of the hottest-selling DVDs on the market. Oh well, the MSRP is $14.94, and the disc will be released on August 24. Source: TV Shows On DVD.
Tuesday, May 25: A Godzilla-Sized Box! Today is a big news day for Godzilla. Toho has announced a lot of information regarding the 50th anniversary Godzilla film, Godzilla: Final Wars. The official Godzilla website has been updated, and one of the news items concerns a mega-DVD Godzilla box set. Appropriately titled Godzilla Final Box, the set will include all 27 Japanese Godzilla films, from the 1954 Gojira to last year's Godzilla: Tokyo SOS, in a 30-disc set! The extra discs will apparently contain supplementary material, and the set will be a limited edition. Specifications, release date, and price are yet to be announced. Look for updates to be posted here as more information becomes available. (Meanwhile, head on over to MaserCity for the first English translation of official GFW info to hit the web!)
A message to Toho: Please, please include English subtitles on these discs. I know you generally market your own products only to Japanese consumers and prefer to let foreign licensees distribute Godzilla-related merchandise overseas. However, Godzilla has a large number of fans in English-speaking territories. For years, we have had to suffer poor distribution of the Godzilla films. Many of those films that are available to us are edited, badly dubbed versions. Please make Godzilla's 50th anniversary an event that all of his fans around the world can enjoy by configuring these discs for wide international appeal. Godzilla fans around the world would appreciate it, and your company would reap the benefits of customer satisfaction and increased sales. Please consider it.
Wednesday, May 5: Tsuburaya Loses Ultraman. The Japanese Supreme Court has awarded Chaiyo Productions Co., Ltd. of Thailand exclusive worldwide rights to Ultraman outside of Japan. This devastating decision ends an eight-year legal battle over rights to the Ultraman character, who was created by Japanese special effects wizard Eiji Tsuburaya in 1966. (Details of the long-running dispute are available in the Henshin! Online archives; scroll down to the 1/2/04 update.) How this will affect the availability of Ultraman TV shows and movies in the U.S. is unknown. Let's hope it doesn't lead to the delay or cancellation of 4Kids / Funimation's Ultraman Tiga DVDs (with two of four volumes now available). (Original source: Thai online newspaper The Nation. Many thanks to "SpaceGamera" at MaserCity for bringing this major toku scoop to our attention.) Personally, I think this is a travesty. Chaiyo has been the licensee / distributor of Ultraman in Thailand for many years. I have the Thai DVDs of two original Chaiyo features, Hanuman vs. 7 Ultramen and Hanuman vs. 5 Masked Riders. I plan to review them in the future; for now I'll just say that they're both poop. This does not bode well for the future of the franchise. UPDATE 5/22: Henshin! Online's Keith Aiken dismisses the Thai news story as "an inaccurate, one-sided claim by Chaiyo's lawyer." Check out this newsgroup posting for more information. Apparently, Chaiyo ONLY has some overseas distribution rights for the first five Ultraman series. Whew!
Thursday, April 22: WARNING!!! The mystery of Ghidorah (scroll down to the March 29 update) has been solved. I received my order from Amazon.com today, and the news is not good. The "Ghidra" disc from CineVu is a DVD-R BOOTLEG. It's not even a factory-pressed DVD! When I removed the disc from the case, ink from the disc label smudged on my fingers. Turning the disc over, I noticed the underside was purple, not silver or gold like a "real" DVD. The cover art is straight off of John Matarazzo's printer (J.M.'s name is all over the box and disc like it's something to be proud of). As for the presentation of the film, a quick preview revealed Alpha Video Megalon-quality (a fullscreen and dubbed print, in very poor condition). Considering the asking price ($19.98) for this disc, I implore you NOT to buy it. UPDATE: Check out my full review.
Saturday, April 3: Sony's Big Plans for the Big G! Sony Pictures Entertainment has added several classic Godzilla films to their library. They have acquired the North American distribution rights for: Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, Son of Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Hedorah, and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. Reportedly, they have plans to release the films on region-1 DVD through Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment, though no specific details are available yet. Sony is also striking new English-subtitled prints of the other Toho films in their library for theatrical exhibition (these include The H-Man, Battle in Outer Space, Mothra, and the Heisei Godzilla series, beginning with 1991's Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah). Hopefully, these will also be released on DVD at some point. (Source: Henshin! Online.)
Thursday, April 1: After You Die, You See ... Yumiko?!? On May 21, the movie Sky High will be released on DVD in Japan. Sky High is based on a TV series, which in turn is adapted from a horror manga. It stars Yumiko Shaku (The Princess Blade, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla) as the guardian of the underworld. The director is Ryuhei Kitamura (Versus, Godzilla: Final Wars). Two seperate versions will be available: A standard edition, and a two-disc special edition. The Standard Edition includes: The theatrical version of the film (122 minutes), teasers, trailers, TV spots, and audio commentary by Kitamura and Shaku. The Special Edition includes all of that, plus the 132-minute Director's Cut version of the film on a second disc. Both editions are region 2, and include English subtitles. For more info on Sky High, go to Henshin! Online's Eastern Front Archives (10/01/03 update). Then check out CD Japan's product pages: Standard Edition, Special Edition. UPDATE 5/25: I received my copy of the 2-disc SE today. The second disc (the longer director's cut) does not include English subtitles. Damn. I have contacted CD Japan about this, and they have updated their listing.
Monday, March 29: The Mystery of Ghidorah. Several readers have emailed me about a listing on Amazon.com for Ghidra (sic): The Three-Headed Monster on DVD. I've been watching this listing for a while now, and I seriously doubt this DVD exists. Here's why: It was supposed to be out March 10, but Amazon doesn't have any cover art and it's never actually been in stock. No pre-release information was ever released. To the best of my knowledge, no other retailers list it, and it has yet to show up on eBay. I've never heard of CineVu before, the title is misspelled, and Amazon originally listed "John Matarazzo" as the director. Amazon does occasionally list things that never come out; this listing for an April 1999 DVD release of Gamera vs. Gyaos causes confusion to this day. If CineVu's Ghidra DVD ever materializes, I will review it, but I'm not holding my breath. Stay tuned for updates! UPDATE 4/15: Amazon's availability has been updated to "usually ships in 24 hours." I have ordered the disc, so we'll see what comes of it. They also now have a listing for a Godzilla vs. Mothra DVD from CineVu which supposedly came out April 10! UPDATE 4/16: DMI reader Woody H. reports that Amazon has shipped his copy. UPDATE 4/17: Tokyo Monsters webmaster James Ballard has also received shipping confirmation. UPDATE 4/20: My copy is on the way, so expect cover scans (maybe even a full review!) next week. UPDATE 4/21: The disc has started to show up on eBay. (Thanks to Bill P. for the tip!)
Thursday, March 25: Hot DAM! On May 18, ADV Films will celebrate Godzilla's 50th anniversary by releasing a new special edition of the 1968 kaiju battle royale, Destroy All Monsters. According to the cover art posted at Amazon.com, this new DVD will include a soundtrack CD! ADV has previously released a bare-bones edition of the film, and a soundtrack CD, separately. No additional specs on their new DAM set are available yet. Hopefully, their presentation of the film will be improved by the inclusion of anamorphic enhancement, a Japanese language track with subtitles, and maybe even chapter stops! Since DAM has been available on region 2 Japanese DVD for a while now, and Tristar's more recent Godzilla DVDs have included subtitled Japanese tracks, Toho may loosen the reins a bit. More details will be posted here as they become available. UPDATE 4/15: Here is ADV's official announcement. English is the only audio option listed. It looks like this may simply be a reissue of their previous DAM DVD, just packaged with the soundtrack CD.
Thursday, March 25: Get 'em While You Can. According to Henshin! Online, two region 1 kaiju discs will be disappearing soon. Columbia Tristar's widescreen Godzilla (1998) has been discontinued, to be replaced with a budget fullscreen version later in the year. Bandai Entertainment's Dark Soldier 'D', about soldiers-of-fortune utilizing a mech suit to battle space monsters, has also been discontinued. If you want to add either disc to your collection, get them now while retailers still have stock. G'98 was recently available in Wal-mart bargain bins; or just click the titles to check Amazon.com for new and used copies of either.
Monday, March 22: Artsmagic in the U.S.? According to a story on Yahoo News, Ryko Distribution has acquired North American distribution rights for Artsmagic, a U.K.-based video company specializing in Japanese action and cult films. (Ryko also distributes Blue Underground genre / cult DVDs, as well as music and anime titles.) This deal will facilitate the region 1 DVD releases of several films from popular Japanese director Takashi Miike, including Full Metal Yakuza. Of particular interest to tokusatsu fans is the fact that Artsmagic has released several Toho films in the U.K., including Kon Ichikawa's Princess from the Moon, Shusuke Kaneko's Pyrokinesis, and the Bloodthirsty trilogy (Legacy of Dracula aka The Vampire Doll, Lake of Dracula, and Evil of Dracula). Other Artsmagic titles include the Lone Wolf and Cub / Baby Cart, Zatoichi, and Lady Snowblood series, as well as the Shochiku cult classic Goke: Bodysnatcher from Hell. All Artsmagic DVDs are region 2 and PAL format; it is unknown whether or not Ryko will bring any of these to region 1. The U.S. rights to some of the films listed here belong to other companies, and some have already been released on region 1 DVD.
Friday, March 5: The 23rd Gets Even Bigger! March 23 is shaping up to be a BIG day for tokusatsu fans. Another new release has been announced, Kikaida Volume 7. It includes episodes 31 -35 of the classic hero series, an interview with series star Ban "Jiro" Daisuke, and character and monster profiles. The episodes are digitally remastered and presented in the original Japanese language with optional English subtitles. There will also be a censored "family friendly" subtitle option (how much cursing can a 1970s hero show have?). It's Kikaida's 30th anniversary on Hawaiian TV, and this DVD is just part of the festivities. Check out Generation Kikaida for news on special appearances, autograph signings, giveaways, and other special events in Hawaii.
This release joins the previously announced Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla from Columbia Tristar, Ultraman Tiga Volume 2 from FUNimation, and Attack from Space and Yongary: Monster from the Deep from Alpha Video. All are available for preorder at Amazon.com; just click away! ; )
Friday, March 5: The New MaserCity! The popular and controversial MaserCity kaiju news & reviews site has been completely revamped! MC will once again be offering the latest kaiju and tokusatsu news, completely uncensored and unapproved by anyone in a suit. MC puts the fans first. Additionally, MC has evolved to become a truly interactive kaiju community. Users can submit news and reviews, and add their comments to the news right on the main page! Of course, the heart and soul of the site is still the infamous MC forum, now the third largest kaiju forum on the web, and still dedicated to uncensored free speech. MC is a great place to go for up-to-date info on the recently announced 50th anniversary Godzilla film, Godzilla: Final Wars. Excellent work, Pimp!
Thursday, Feb. 26: Return of the Retromedia Double Feature. According to Fangoria, Retromedia Entertainment will release another kaiju double feature on June 8. This one is set to include: Return of the Giant Monsters (the original AIP-TV version of the third Gamera film, Gamera vs. Gyaos), and The Magic Serpent (a 1966 fantasy from Toei, featuring a dragon battling a giant frog-like creature). Knowing Retromedia, we can probably expect the usual fullscreen, edited, dubbed, public-domain TV prints.
Thursday, Feb. 26: Moon...Crystal...Power!!! (Or Whatever She Says...) A live-action series based on the popular anime Sailor Moon (aka Bishojo Senshi Sailormoon) began airing in Japan last year. Now, the first two DVD volumes have been scheduled for release. Volume 1, due on March 26, will include the first four episodes, and an interview with Chisaki Hama, the actress who plays Amy / Sailor Mercury. Volume 2 is scheduled for April 23. There are no specific details on the second one yet. It will presumably contain episodes 5-8. Both discs are region 2, Japanese language, and do not include English subtitles. Region free, subtitled versions from Hong Kong will likely start to show up on eBay in the coming months. Considering the popularity of the anime, a U.S. distributor may (hopefully) pick the show up as well. UPDATE 3/2: More information, including cover art and a 5/28 release date for Volume 3, can be found at the Eternal Moon website. Thanks to "Showa Mothra" from the MaserCity forum for the tip.
Friday, Feb. 6: Happy Birthday, DMI! Today marks the one-year anniversary of the establishment of the DMI site. I'm very pleased with the site, and how popular it's become. These pictures are of a very special birthday cake made by Jen to celebrate the occasion: Pic #1 (top view), pic #2 (side view), pic #3 (top view w/ lit candle). Check out the details: That's a DVD in the middle, topped with a cupcake-volcano, and a DMI logo on rice paper surrounded by SD kaiju figures! How cool is that? Many thanks, Jen!
I've also added a few new features to the site. First, there is a new about page, detailing the history and goals of the site. There's also an alphabetical master list of all the DVD reviews on the site (77 in just one year!). Enjoy!
Sunday, Jan. 18: Alpha Times Two. On March 23, stuff your underwear with cotton and grab your super-itch ray, because Alpha Video will be releasing two DVDs of interest. First up is Attack from Space. This is the second movie featuring Starman (aka Supergiant), the beefy Japanese superhero with a steel batch. AFS is currently available on a double-feature DVD from Something Weird Video, along with another Starman adventure, Evil Brain from Outer Space. Alpha will also unleash Yongary: Monster from the Deep. This is the Korean kaiju classic in which Seoul gets stomped by a Godzilla wannabe who dances to rock 'n' roll. One extra feature has been announced, an image gallery. This is the original Yongary's DVD debut, so let's hope Alpha puts out a good-quality disc. (Thanks to Andy S. for the tip.)
Saturday, Jan. 17: Classic Media Gyakushu. It has been reported on several sites (including Henshin! Online and DVD Drive-In) that Classic Media is considering releasing more Toho films on DVD this year. (CM is the company responsible for the Ultimate Godzilla DVD Collection.) A couple of years ago, CM bought the entire UPA film catalog, including many Toho titles. Films under consideration for release include: Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, Frankenstein Conquers the World, War of the Gargantuas, Evil of Dracula, Lake of Dracula, Espy, The Last Days of Planet Earth, and High Seas Hijack. What's more, CM has expressed interest in releasing restored, uncut versions of the films in widescreen, depending on the availability of film elements and the cooperation of Toho. Let's hope these plans work out! UPDATE 3/22: MaserCity reports that CM have reaffirmed their commitment to quality releases, including improved re-issues of their previous Godzilla titles to tie into the big G's 50th anniversary.
Tuesday, Jan. 13: Ooh, Scary! The 1964 Toho ghost story Onibaba will be coming to DVD on March 9 from The Criterion Collection. Here are the specs: A newly remastered 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and Japanese Dolby mono track, plus a new video interview with director Kaneto Shindo, rare Super-8 footage shot on location by actor Kei Sato, a still gallery with production art, the theatrical trailer, and the original short Buddhist fable that inspired the film. MSRP will be $29.95. Here is Criterion's product page.
Tuesday, Jan. 6: Kiryu Comes to America! Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment has set a March 23 release for Toho's 2002 Godzilla film, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla. We can expect similar specs to their upcoming (Jan. 27) Godzilla vs. Megaguirus and Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah discs: Anamorphic widescreen, Japanese and English 5.1 audio, English subtitles, and trailers. Let's hope this establishes a new pattern of timely region 1 Godzilla releases!
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