Toho’s KAWAII! JENNY
New SPFX series from the makers of GRANSAZER
Author: James Ballard
Official Website: www.toho-a-park.com/character/jenny/
KAWAII! JENNY (simply meaning “Cute! Jenny”) is a new and somewhat bizarre late-night special effects series produced by Toho Co,. Ltd and Dream Planet Japan Inc. The project is headed by director Koichi Kawakita, who once lead as the director of special effects for some of Toho’s biggest FX productions, including all the Godzilla films produced between GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE (Gojira tai Biorante, 1989) and GODZILLA VS. DESTOROYAH (Gojira tai Desutoroia, 1995).
After retiring from Toho, Kawakita established his own visual effects company, Dream Planet Japan, in January 2003. Since that time, Dream Planet Japan have collaborated with Toho on the TV series SUPER STAR GOD GRANSAZER (Chouseishin Guranseizaa, 2003), THE JUSTIRISERS (Genseishin Jasutiraizaa, 2004) and SUPER STAR FLEET SAZER-X (Chousei Kantai Seizaa Ekkusu, 2005), the movie SUPER STAR FLEET SAZER-X: FIGHT! WARRIORS OF THE STARS (Chousei Kantai Seizaa Ekkusu: Tatakae! Hoshi-no Senshi-tachi, 2005), as well as producing featurettes for the DVD releases of GUNHED (Ganheddo, 1989) and SAMURAI OF THE SKY (Oozora-no Samurai, 1953).
KAWAII! JENNY is based on the “Jenny” doll created by the Japanese toy manufacture Takara in 1986, who since merged with Tomy in 2006, becoming Takara Tomy. In this new 13-part TV series, with owes much to Cartoon Network’s THE POWERPUFF GIRLS (1998), Jenny is one of three girls who have the ability to transform into superheroes known as the “Sweets Angels”, along with Akira and Nadeshiko. Against the evil Sister B and her partners in crime, three bears (“Kuma”), the trio fight to save the world’s fashion and sweets.
“Dolls + Diorama + Drama”, as the official website describes, is what sets KAWAII! JENNY apart from many of the other genre shows currently airing in Japan. With no live actors, every shot is brought to life utilizing a variety of FX techniques, such as puppetry, “man in suit”, CGI and bluescreen compositing. Of particular interest is the Giant-Robo Itazuran who appears in the first episode, portrayed by suit actor Shinya Iwasaki, who has previously played various monsters in series such as ULTRAMAN NEOS (Urutoraman Neosu, 2000) and ULTRAMAN MEBIUS (Urutorman Mebiusu, 2006).
Starting from October 2nd, KAWAII! JENNY has been airing in the early hours every Tuesday morning at 1:40am on Chiba TV. In the half hour slot, two 15-minute stories are shown back-to-back.
In traditional fashion, the series feature two current chart songs for it’s opening and ending title sequences. Incidentally, both the opening theme Rumika and the ending theme High Energy (Hai Enajii) are by Haruko Momoi, a songwriter, singer and voice actress, who voices Sister B in KAWAII! JENNY, and High Energy is a duet which also features Sakura Nogawa, who plays the voice of Jenny in the show. Both songs will be released on CD on November 14th.
Jenny: Sakura Nogawa
Nadeshiko: Natsuko Kuwatani
Akira: Yuu Kobayashi
Sister B: Haruko Momoi
Kuma-san: Shinsuke Fukui
Kuma-kun: Tora Take
Kuma-chan: Yumiko Owari
Mr. Crown: Daisuke Matsuoka
Rina: Eri Taruta
Harry: Takuma Terashima
Director: Koichi Kawakita
Series Organizer / Writer: Yoshio Urasawa
Writer: Katsuhiko Chiba
Producers: Takayuki Oshima, Fumitaka Kunugi, Minoru Tanaka
Assistant Director / Project Collaboration: Satoshi Imai
VFX Supervisor: Tomoaki Minou
Music: Yasuharu Takanashi
VE: Chiaki Ishii
Editor: Kazuhiko Saitou
Production Companies: Toho Co., Ltd, Dream Planet Japan Inc., Takara Tomy
Sales Agency: Avex Marketing (stocks)
Giant-Robo Itazuran (Suit Actor): Shinya Iwasaki