close menu
Get Ready for GODZILLA with EIJI TSUBURAYA: MASTER OF MONSTERS

Get Ready for GODZILLA with EIJI TSUBURAYA: MASTER OF MONSTERS

With the latest incarnation of Godzilla in theaters this weekend, it’s a good time to look back on the history of Gojira – and immerse ourselves in the achievements and genius of the tokusatsu (special effects) master: Eiji Tsuburaya. And there’s no better way to do that, short of hosting your own mini film festival, than luxuriating in the amazing illustrated biography by August Ragone: Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters – Defending the Earth with Ultraman, Godzilla, and Friends in the Golden Age of Japanese Science Fiction Film.

EijiQMonsters

Tsuburaya was fifty-three years old when Godzilla was released – hence his nickname of “Oyagi” – “the old man” — but as Ragone takes us from his not-so-humble beginnings as part of a shouya family in Fukushima to his eventual success in the Japanese film industry in Tokyo, it’s clear that he was a visionary even as a youth. In fact, his first dream was of flying and designing planes – very reminiscent of the dreams of Jiro Horikoshi as depicted in Hayao Miyazaki’s film The Wind Rises.

I would compare this book to the way it feels when you slap some vinyl on the record player – it has such a nice warm tone in our world of hyper-realistic digital special effects. Looking over the copious photographs and reading all the stories, I was amazed to read about how they executed their ideas – for instance, Tsuburaya’s original vision for Gojira was to bring him to life with stop motion effects – but declared it would take seven years to shoot it to his exacting standards – so they revamped the vision to take advantage of his department’s expertise in miniatures and visual effects. This also meant an actor in a 220 lb suit losing over a cup of sweat in a costume, along with many cuts and bruises, but it was all in the name of art — and celluloid history.

B7.7 re

Godzilla aside, I think many people will also love this book for it’s extensive coverage and history of Ultraman. (Holla if you watched and loved this show as a kid! Or adult! And then put your arms in that perpendicular salute!) Birthed from the series Ultra-Q, Ultraman found international success thanks to United Artists Television, the fact that it was filmed in color, and the practical-immortality transformation of syndication.

Whether you are a Cinephile, Japanophile, Gojira fan, Sci-Fi freak, monster lover, or casual fan – you’ll find this book to be an inspiration and a fascinating, detailed look at the life of a true visionary. I’ll say this: the kid in me who lounged on a typical ’70s orange shag carpet watching all of these films and TV shows over and over again certainly enjoyed having a granular look at how it all came to pass.

Funko Rolls out a Full Line of THE DARK CRYSTAL Action Figures

Funko Rolls out a Full Line of THE DARK CRYSTAL Action Figures

article
Even CAPTAIN AMERICA Chris Evans Isn't Immune From JIMMY KIMMEL's

Even CAPTAIN AMERICA Chris Evans Isn't Immune From JIMMY KIMMEL's "Mean Tweets"

article
New HARRY POTTER Quiz Matches You with Your Patronus

New HARRY POTTER Quiz Matches You with Your Patronus

article