DeAgostini release TOHO Tokusatu DVD Magazines

Italy based major publishing company, DeAgostini, is well-known with its unique "Partwork" format magazines.

According to Wikiipedia, "partwork" is a written publication released as a series of planned magazine-like issues over a period of time. Issues are typically released on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis, and often a completed set is designed to form a reference work on a particular topic.

DeAgostini's Japanese subsidiary started a weekly magazine series called "Ultraman Official Data File" back in May, which covers the detailed history of "Ultraman" franchise.

On September 29, they will start another great series, which we Tokusatsu genre fans should be all crazy about, "Toho Tokusatsu Movie DVD collection".

Every other week, DeAgostini Japan will release a magazine with a DVD of Toho Tokusatsu movie. The magazine contains a story outline of the movie, pictures from the production sets, Kaiju data and actors' profile etc. It also has a special written commentary by Mr. Kohji Kawakita, SFX director.

The series will start with the 1954 masterpiece "Godzilla" at Yen990.- (about US$10.50)

DVD, Japanese region code 2 format, contains a full version of the original Japanese release movie, but it does not have any special features like commentary or trailers.

The issue No. 2 will be "Mothra vs Godzilla" (1964) and the series continues with "Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster" (1964), "Atragon" (1963), "Mothra" (1961). The price after the issue No. 2 onwards will be Yen1,990.- (about $21.30)

DeAgostini Japan has announced that the series will have not only the whole 28 "Godzilla" movies, but also other Tokusatsu (SFX) featured movies like "Tomei Ningen/Invisible Man" (1954), "Bijo to Ekitainingen/The H-Man" (1958), "Denso Ningen/The Telegian" (1960), "Battle in Outer Space" (1959), "Gorath" (1962), "Matango (1963)" etc. In addition, a few movies from 1970's, featuring Mr. Teruyoshi Nakano as SFX director, are scheduled to be released later, including "Nippon Chinbotsu" (1973), "Esupai" (1974) and "Wakusei Daisenso/War in Space" (1977).

The price (about $21) is not cheap for a DVD, but, considering the contained materials (magazine), I should say it will be worth buying if you have a budget. Maybe, it would be wise to buy a couple of issues first to see if the materials in the magazine is worthwhile.

You can subscribe the series if you order through DeAgostini Japan's web site, but, the problem is.....


For the fans outside of Japan like myself, DeAgostini Japan says, if you have a major Japanese book store like Kinokuniya nearby, you may be able to ask them to order the series from Japan.


Shûe Matsubayashi passed

I feel deeply sorry that I have to open my blog with a sad news.

Shûe Matsubayashi, movie director, passed away due to cardiac failure on August 15 in Tokyo. He was 89.

Mr. Matsubayashi was one of the hit makers at Toho Studios back in 50's and 60's. He directed 28 movies of a smash hit "saralied-man" comedy series, "Shacho series". The series features a legendary actor, Hisaya Morishige as "Shacho" (president), and Keiju Kobayashi (playing Prime minister of Japan in "Godzilla 1984") as his secretary .

Mr. Matsubayashi was born in 1920 in Shimane, mountainous area in west part of Japan. His father was a Buddhist priest and, in fact, he himself was educated as a priest. In 1942, he became interested in movies and joined Toho Studios. He wanted to make his own movies with Buddhist philosophy, so he firstly did not like to make comical movies like "Shacho series". But, it is said that he was gradually learning how he could show his thoughts even in comical movies.

During the World War II, he was in Japanese Imperial Navy. He made many great War movies with Toho in which he put his experiences. Most of those War movies feature SFX by Eiji Tsuburaya.

I believe Mr. Matsubayashi will be remembered most by movie fans, specifically "Tokusatsu" genre fans, outside of Japan, with 1961 Toho production "Last War" (世界大戦争).

To be honest with you, I have a kind of hesitation to say "Last War" is a Sci-Fi movie or Tokusatsu (SFX featured) movie. It is more like human-featured drama. It tells you how the ordinary people in a certain era are living and dying, or I should say, being killed.

I pray his soul may rest in peace.