Classic Anime Gets Star Treatment!
THE TOEI CLASSIC ANIME MOVIE COLLECTION!
An Interview with William Winckler
Author: Bob Johnson
Special thanks to Winckler-Oya Inc. and Toei Animation Co., Ltd.
A SciFi JAPAN EXCLUSIVE!
William Winckler has had a long career of acting, directing, writing and producing. From bit roles in television series and motion pictures to dubbing TEKKAMAN to making films of his own like THE DOUBLE-D AVENGER, Winckler has done just about every job you can imagine in Hollywood. Now he is returning to Japanese animation in a big way!
For the last two years, he has been hard at work, putting together THE TOEI CLASSIC ANIME MOVIE COLLECTION! These are some of the most famous Japanese cartoons ever, with all-new English dubbing from Winckler-Oya Inc. The first wave is made up of 23 full-length feature films running 90 to 120 minutes each on all new HD masters!
This amazing collection includes iconic properties such as DANGUARD ACE, the famous giant robot cartoon immortalized in the Stan Lee Marvel Comic SHOGUN WARRIORS, the infamous SPACE PIRATE CAPTAIN HARLOCK, GAIKING, the robot character based on the famous toy from MATTEL’S SHOGUN WARRIORS toy line, FIST OF THE NORTH STAR, the popular 1980’s MAD MAX inspired series, STARZINGER, the favorite cartoon seen throughout the U.S. in FORCE FIVE and many other favorites!
In an exclusive interview with SciFi Japan, William Winckler talks about his career, productions and goes into detail about this new package of classic Japanese animation.
SciFi Japan: So what got you started in show business? Was it your childhood goal?
William Winckler: I always had an over-active imagination… I was always day dreaming in school . . and I was heavily influenced by sci-fi, fantasy, and adventure films and TV shows growing up… especially Japanese anime and live-action genre material. I was put in gifted classes as a kid, and was always writing creative stories. So, my getting into the business stemmed from that. I love acting, writing, producing and directing, and I was lucky enough to do it all… to wear all the hats. It wasn’t really a childhood goal, it was the evolution of my over-active creativity through the years, I guess!
SFJ: What were some of your inspirations growing up? Favorite TV shows? Movies?
WW: Universal monster movies, Hammer horror films, all the Japanese Godzilla and Gamera movies, GIANT ROBO, ULTRAMAN, the AIP stuff, Gerry Anderson’s shows, like THUNDERBIRDS, KOLCHAK THE NIGHTSTALKER, SPEED RACER, Irwin Allen’s LOST IN SPACE. What’s absolutely bizarre… and I don’t know how this happened… but I wound up later becoming friends with, meeting, or working for people associated with my favorite shows as a kid! For example, I used to love LOST IN SPACE, and later in life, the star of the show, Jonathan Harris, who played Dr. Smith, became like an Uncle to me. Jonathan and I used to have lunch all the time and he’d tell me the most hilarious stories about showbiz. Who would have imagined that as a kid watching LOST IN SPACE, I’d someday have that close of a friendship with Dr. Smith? Bizarre!
Same with SPEED RACER! When I was a kid, my favorite cartoon was SPEED RACER! I watched it religiously, then later in life, when I did all those anime productions, I became great, close friends with Peter Fernandez (Speed Racer himself) and Corinne Orr (Trixie, Spritel, and Mom Racer). In fact, I am very close friends with Corinne, and whenever she visits California, she stays with me!
Gerry Anderson’s THUNDERBIRDS was another favorite of mine, and years later, once again, I became friendly with Sylvia Anderson, and also met Gerry. Sylvia invited me to a business lunch at Pinewood Studios, where all the James Bond films were made, and she was just the nicest lady in the world. She even had a puppet replica of Lady Penelope in her office, and she did the voice for me! That was hilarious… and surreal!
In my teens I really loved the Tom Baker DR.WHO series, and later in life, once again, became good friends with the late Elizabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Dr. Who’s most famous companion.
I could go on and on and on with stories like this! Crazy, bizarre events in my life! However, I would say that Jonathan Harris was one of the big influences, because he taught me a lot about the business of show biz. He was like a mentor to me.
Of course, my late father Bob Winckler, was a huge influence too. My dad had been a big child star in the 1930’s and 40’s, having worked in over eighty movies and two hundred radio shows with all the stars of the “Golden Age of Hollywood.” In fact, Charlie Chaplin’s wife, Mildred Harris Chaplin, got my dad into showbiz.
My dad, Robert “Bobby” Winckler as he was known… sometimes his last name was spelled Winkler without the letter c… was the most working child actor during that time. He appeared in many LITTLE RASCALS/OUR GANG comedy shorts with Alfalfa, Spanky, Buckwheat and Darla, including “Glove Taps,” “Pigskin Palooka,” “General Spanky,” “Our Gang Follies ‘ 38,” “Mail and Female,” “Football Romeo,” “Pay As You Exit,” and “Hearts Are Thumps.” He’s also know for starring in Republic Serials most famous cliff-hanger serial DAREDEVILS OF THE RED CIRCLE. Other iconic movies he appeared in include SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS (considered one of the top 100 movies of all time), BAD MEN OF MISSOURI, THE LIFE OF KNUTE ROCKNEY, THE IRON MAJOR (playing Pat O’Brien as a boy), PRIDE OF THE YANKEES, BLUE MONTANA SKIES (with Gene Autry), and some 70 other films!
My Dad’s classic radio work included shows like BIG TOWN (with Edward G. Robinson), Cecil B. DeMille’s LUX RADIO THEATER, THE EDGAR BERGAN SHOW, YOUR HIT PARADE (playing W. C. Fields son), AMOS AND ANDY, THE BOB HOPE SHOW and others. His animation voice over work included doing voices in Walt Disney’s BAMBI, providing the voices of both Hans and Fritz in MGM’s THE CAPTAIN AND THE KIDS/THE KATZENJAMMER KIDS, MERRY MELODIES/LOONEY TOONS cartoons, Charles Mintz SCRAPPY and many more. Of course, he later did voices in Tekkaman for me.
Film Historian Leonard Maltin described my dad as a “prolific” child actor of the time.
As an adult, he caught the end of World War Two, he was in the air force, and when he returned his agent retired, his parents divorced, and he went to college. While in college, he studied law and became an attorney. He was a successful entertainment attorney for almost forty years. He later passed on in 1989. He was my best friend, my dad, my attorney, my manager. He was a great guy! I still see his old movies late at night on Turner Movie Classics! People are often calling me up saying “hey, you’re Dad’s on right now!”
SFJ: What were some of the shows you worked on before you started dubbing Japanese cartoons?
WW: In the 1980’s I worked a lot as an actor, I was a member of Screen Actors Guild, and did tons of bit parts and “five-and-unders,” which were five lines or less with principles. I learned a great deal doing these roles! Some of the shows I did include KNIGHT RIDER, MURDER SHE WROTE, FALL GUY, REMINGTON STEELE, SILVER SPOONS, BACK TO THE FUTURE (playing a 50’s kid), PRETTY IN PINK, WEIRD SCIENCE, WHO’S THE BOSS?, AMAZING STORIES, LUCAS, RUTHLESS PEOPLE, FAMILY TIES, HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN, DESIGNING WOMEN, QUANTUM LEAP, ALIEN NATION, DOOGIE HOWSER, MATLOCK, etc., etc. I also did lots of commercials, my best one being the first IBM computer commercial for home personal computers! I made a fortune in residuals from that… it was a national spot that ran for like three years straight! If you look at my IMDB credits, I’ve got like over 70 TV and Film acting roles listed… and IMDB doesn’t list everything for some reason.
I remember a weird job I did as a rotoscope character on an animated film called COOL WORLD. When I arrived on the set, everyone was excited saying “Brad Pitt is coming, Brad Pitt is on the set!” I never heard of Brad Pitt, and I thought, “why the hell are all the girls around here going nuts for Brad Pitt?” Then Brad arrived on the set, and I looked at him and thought “this is the guy who everyone is making a big deal about?! What’s the big deal?!”
I remember on KNIGHT RIDER, David Hasselhoff being kind of an ego maniac… and I always thought he was doing a kind of hammy John Wayne impression or something! Michael Landon was the nicest man in the world and he was very kind to me.
When I did REMINGTON STEELE, I played a teen car thief, and I recall Pierce Brosnan acting kind of cold to me. Not a friendly guy at all. Usually series regulars welcome day players, but he didn’t do that. Doris Roberts was nice. In the scene, she’s up on an apartment building ledge, hiding from villains, and when she looks down, I’m stealing her fancy car! She then screams down to me in the street, calling me every name in the book, as I wave to her and drive off! That was fun!
I worked at all the major studios observing hundreds of Hollywood’s top stars and directors work, on all types of productions… movies, one hour dramas, action adventures, soaps, situation comedies shot in front of live audiences, commercials, you name it! It was the best education in the world, and I was getting paid a lot of money to do it! I had some real good agents at the time. I learned how to “hurry up and wait,” and also learned about the tremendous waste of money that big Hollywood studios blow.
Although I didn’t realize it at the time, many of those 80’s shows have become classics today, such as KNIGHT RIDER and BACK TO THE FUTURE. What was amazing about Back to the Future, was that the 1950’s Courthouse Square location was so incredibly detailed… I mean, all the store fronts had perfectly detailed displays… with 1950’s signs, 1950’s packaging on all the products, candy, boxes, etc. Stuff the camera would never pick up! That’s how truly amazing that Back to the Future set was! It really was like you were back in the 1950’s.
I remember when I walked out of the make-up trailer, a Universal Studios tour bus drove by, then stopped! The tour guide said over the loud speaker, “there’s one of the stars of BACK TO THE FUTURE!” I was in my 1950’s wardrobe, and had my hair slicked back with tons of grease! Suddenly, a hundred tourists all went nuts and took my photo! I was embarrassed as Hell! I also remember spending a lot of time talking to the actor playing the diner owner, Norman Alden, because he was the voice of Aquaman in the SUPERFRIENDS cartoons! The guy who played Michael J. Fox’s father, Crispin Glover, was also running around Courthouse Square, so he could act nervous and out of breath as his wimpy character! I remember finding that very funny! Talk about method acting! Unfortunately, my on-camera silent bit footage was cut out of the final print! That’s showbiz!
While I was doing this, I also studied acting at UCLA with Emmy Award winning director Don Richardson. I learned a hell of a lot from Don about acting and directing, he was a true genius! Don Richardson was the acting teacher for stars like Anne Bancroft, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Montgomery, Lois Nettleton, John Cassavetes, Zero Mostel, and many others! Don taught an alternative to “the method.” It’s thanks to Don that as a director, I’m more of an “actor’s director” than a “camera pusher” or “music video director.” I know how to get into actors heads and bring out the performances, because I myself am an actor, I’ve done plays, theater, etc. So many directors today don’t know how to do this, because they themselves are not real actors. They don’t direct actors, they direct traffic, as Jonathan Harris used to say!
Oh, one TV commercial I hated doing was a commercial for a mouth wash called Listermint. It was an all night shoot, I was the best man at a wedding or something, and when the bride said some line, we all had to clap our hands and say “making your mouth a better place!” It was ridiculous! All night long, take after take after take, she’d say the line, then I’d clap my hands along with others and say “making your mouth a better place!” It was insanity! I was getting tired, and sleepy, and growing angry! I was worn out! I mean, the idiot director took like three hundred takes! When we finished the next morning around six am, I could barely drive home! I called my agent and said, I’ll never work for that f’ing production company or director again!” You see, take number three or four, was better than take number two-hundred and eighty three! It was ridiculous to do that many takes for one line in a master shot! I never forgot this, and today, as a director, I’ll only shoot what’s necessary, then move on to the next shot, because it never gets any better, only worse! It pisses off your actors.
I also recall doing an episode of China Beach and the star of that was sexy Dana Delany. I played a horny soldier watching the girls put on a sexy fashion show, and the director told me that every time Dana walks up past me, that I had to grab her ass and squeeze it, like a soldier ready to jump her bones! I did it, and loved it! Dana did too! Unfortunately, we only shot a dozen takes of me doing that! I wish the Listermint director had directed that show!
You know, I can’t remember the show I was working, I think it was a pilot for a series called DATES FROM HELL, starring Jane Curtin, who starred in SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, but I was at a studio lot one day, walking to the men’s room, when all of a sudden a live tiger lunged at me! I nearly died of fright! On the next stage over, they were shooting with wild animals, and the trainer let the tiger wonder around outside! When the big cat saw me, it showed its teeth, then jumped! I ran into the men’s room so fast, and slammed the door behind me! I could hear the animal trainer laughing outside! Of course, I failed to see the humor in it!
The most fun I ever had on a TV set was when I did a bit part on THE FALL GUY! I played a guy who had a close-up, driving a car and getting into a wreck because villains rammed into me. I did my part, but most of the day I was watching stunt after stunt after stunt! It was so much fun! Cars crashing, stuntmen diving from helicopters into the ocean, car chases, giant explosions, etc! No CGI, this was all the real stuff!! Meeting Lee Majors was a big thrill for me, because as a kid I loved THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN! The girl on that show was super hot too… Heather Thomas! I’ll never forget how they had her walk out in a bikini in the opening credits! I got paid to play and have fun all day on THE FALL GUY! That was heaven on Earth! I think THE FALL GUY is another classic today. We just don’t have fun television anymore. It’s just people shot in the dark, miserable, fighting with each other, brooding, with shaky cameras and edits every six seconds, etc, or reality shows, talent contests, or infomercials! A pity!
SFJ: How did you get to do TEKKAMAN at such a young age?
WW: I had always wanted to be a producer, in addition to acting, writing and directing, and I loved classic anime. I had a lot of money from my acting jobs and I thought I could invest in an anime series, as my first producing venture, so that’s what I did. I was good friends with America’s greatest anime fan, and anime historian, Fred Patten, and Fred gave me Tatsunoko’s address and contacts. We contacted Tatsunoko, and to make a long story short, after several meetings with Ike Ashida of Shinwa Corporation, Koki Narushima, and Kenji Yoshida of Tatsunoko Productions, we had a deal for TEKKAMAN THE SPACE KNIGHT. We produced thirteen half hour episodes in English, with Fred Patten co-writing the scripts with me. Dianne Foster who was a big star in the 50’s and 60’s directed. Dianne starred in movies like THE LAST HURRAH with Spensor Tracey, THE KENTUKIAN with Burt Lancaster, WHO’S BEEN SLEEPING IN MY BED? with Dean Martin, and tons of TV series, like BONANZA, THE BIG VALLEY, WILD, WILD WEST, PETTICOAT JUNCTION, etc. The actual dubbing took place in the same studio Bob Clampett produced his BEANY AND CECIL cartoons.
I recall the voice actors were Bill Hedderly Jr. (Barry Gallagher/Tekkaman), Reginald Bennett (Andro), Kathy Pruitt (Patricia Richardson), Robert O’Keefe aka Robert Winckler my father (Dr. Richardson/Emperor Devoral), Clancy Syrko (Narrator/Randrox/Pegus), Jean Veloz (Mutan/Tekka Shuttle Computer), and Ken Kamp (guest characters).
Usually the cast would meet in my home, we’d read through the episode’s script, watch the Japanese version, then rehearse the script in detail. Later that week, usually around five o’clock in the early evening, we’d all meet at Bob Clampett’s studio and dub that week’s show. Sometimes the dubbing sessions would run until eleven-thirty PM due to the difficulty of lip sync looping. Remember, this was 1984, and everything was analog!
What stands out in my mind is actor Bill Hedderly’s method acting! He played Tekkaman, and at the end of every episode, Tekkaman would have a battle scene, smashing apart Waldarians while yelling “Space Lance!” “Take That!” “Space Lariat!” etc, and Bill in the dubbing booth, would be jumping up and down like a madman, screaming battle cries, fulfilling the part!
After dubbing many episodes, Bill Hedderly kind of took on the persona of a tough, leading man… like Tekkaman… a macho, fearless fighter. I remember one night, we took a break outside the dubbing booth… remember we’re in a parking lot in the middle of Hollywood… then suddenly gun shots are heard in the background! Bang! Bang! Bang! Mr. Macho Man Bill, was the first guy to run back into the recording studio to hide… the girls and everyone else followed! I remember that was so hilarious, and I joked to Bill, “Tekkaman, go back out there and stop those guys!”
We had already sold TEKKAMAN to a major TV station in Toronto while dubbing the fist block of thirteen, so we were constantly rushed to meet the delivery schedule! We attended NATPE and sold the show in syndicated television. Although I was a small independent among multi-million dollar corporations like Disney and MGM, I was able to get TEKKAMAN sold to dozens of TV markets including San Francisco, Chicago, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Hawaii, etc. Rating in these markets were great! We had positive feedback from the stations. I also struck a home video deal with Congress Video Group, which resulted in them selling over 50,000 home video tapes of episodes ten, twelve, and thirteen to major retailers like J.C. Pennys and Toys R Us. These home video numbers were big at the time, and in today’s market, they are still huge! Disney used to move 100,000 units in the 80’s of their classic cartoons, and we moved over 50,000 of TEKKAMAN. Later on, two compilation movies were made and sold through LD Video to stores like Tower Records and Musicland Group.
TEKKAMAN was doing fine, and we were prepared to dub the second half of the series. Tatsunoko was so delighted with me, that they offered me all their other anime series in their library such as CASHERN, HURRICAN POLYMAR, and HONEYBEE HUTCH. Then trouble started. The major U.S. toy companies gained total control of children’s television and flooded the market with shows like GOBOTS, TRANSFORMERS, VOLTRON, ROBOTECH, SILVERHAWKS, and others, all of which were soley created to sell toys. They were thirty minute ads for toys. If you don’t believe these shows were just thirty minute ads for toys, ask guys like Don Glut, who wrote the best episodes of the original TRANSFORMERS. He’ll tell you they were big toy commercials. These shows were given to TV stations for “free” on a barter basis, in exchange for commercial time, which the toy companies used to sell their toy lines. However, with TEKKAMAN, I didn’t have a major toy company or ad agency behind me, and I had to sell the show on a cash basis. This hurt future TV sales of TEKKAMAN and nearly destroyed the kids’ TV market.
I recall Ted Turner almost purchased TEKKAMAN, but ultimately didn’t, because he thought it was a little too violent. You see, we tried to remain faithful to the original show, and we didn’t cut much out. There were lots of heavy battle scenes with robots. We tried to lessen the violence by saying TEKKAMAN was “deactivating” robots, as he sliced and diced them with his Space Lance, but I guess that wasn’t enough for Mr. Turner. This was revolutionary at the time, because shows like BATTLE OF THE PLANETS/GATCHAMAN were butchered like crazy! I tried to lesson the blow of the violence through dialog rather than butchering the film. I recall characters saying “luckily nobody was seriously hurt!” That was a good “throw away” line to add, sometimes off camera, to make a violent scene less violent!
I used to joke with Bill Hedderly that if he didn’t stop over-acting, I was going to “deactive” him! It was a funny, run-on joke among the cast, the word “deactivate!” In fact, I think Fred Patten came up with it!
TEKKAMAN developed a fan following, and we received a lot of positive fan mail. In fact, one time a couple fans came up to the gate at my house! That was a surprise! I was the youngest producer of an English dubbed anime series in America… I was 20 years old at the time! Someone should call the Guinness Book of World Records! Ha, ha, ha!
SFJ: How did the business (production and distribution) differ back in the days of TEKKAMAN from what it is today?
WW: Well, back then, as I said, everything was analog. It was very difficult! We worked with 16mm film! We were cutting film and dubbing to film, then transferring to tape! The writing of the scripts was the same, but the dubbing was different. When I write an anime script, I usually get a pigeon English translation, which is an absolute mess, but it gives me a rough idea of what’s going on. I then rewrite the whole thing, counting the number of lip flaps, making notes of what the Japanese actors do for every little damn thing. For example, if a character is running, I count and record on paper how many pants, coughs, gasps, eating and drinking sounds, spitting, battle cries, regular crying, etc. the character does.
Laughter is interesting, because if a character laughs with a mouth open, it’s spelled “ha, ha, ha!” However, if the mouth is just teeth, it’s a “hee, hee, hee” and I’ll actually write notes for the actor “teeth.” If the laugh is a closed mouth laugh, it’s spelled “hm, hm, hm!” Writing these scripts is so much more than just dialog. It starts to get confusing when multiple characters are talking all at once or over each other, because you must write the dialog for each person. If they are coughing, panting or making other sounds in addition to speaking, you’ve got a big complicated mess to fix!
If it’s not all on paper, in the scripts for the actors to perform, the dubbing sessions will take much longer! So, all the dialog and vocal instructions must be written down for the actor to do. If for example a character is running and there are fifteen pants, it will be written in the script, “character pants 15 times.”
It’s like putting a giant jigsaw puzzle together. Incredibly tedious work. It was more-so in the 80’s, because I wrote from a slow video monitor. It took time to run the picture back and forth over and over to count lip flaps, etc. Nowadays, it’s a piece of cake with DVDs. Digital technology changed everything! It’s like night and day. Whereas TEKKAMAN was a nightmare to dub, all the stuff I do today is one hundred times easier, especially the lip sync!
For some of the girls’ anime shows, I had to write all new lyrics when the characters would sing on camera! That was another little unpleasant surprise for me, when dubbing girls anime! I have a knack for writing lyrics, but it’s still a real challenge on top of everything else. Luckily, we never had to dub singing in TEKKAMAN.
Fred Ladd, the “father” of anime in America, who produced classics like ASTROBOY, KIMBA THE WHITE LION, and GIGANTOR, is another good friend of mine. In fact, Fred and I happen to be neighbors! Talk about another weird coincidence. Anyway, when Fred saw how we dubbed anime today, he just shook his head in amazement, because as I say, digital changed everything! If I was in the Bronze Age doing TEKKAMAN, Fred was in the Stone Age doing GIGANTOR and ASTROBOY!
I dubbed Japanese live action as well, and thank God we have digital editing systems today. Dubbing live-action in much, much harder than dubbing anime!
Distribution today is totally different than it was in the 80’s. Remember, Tekkaman was on “real free television” . . .syndication. We were listed in TV Guide, and anyone with rabbit ears TV could turn in and watch. We’re talking tens of millions of kids . . . moreso than the audience for Syfy today! Tekkaman had an audience ten times bigger than today’s Syfy audience. We had a huge audience nationwide on free TV. I still have old TV Guides people sent me. However, today, most of the TV Networks are owned by the major studios, and they mostly run their own content. So, a lot of the distribution for non studio stuff is now broadband. It was DVD, but DVD is on it’s way out now. All of the material I’m doing now for Toei has been for broadband mostly.
SFJ: Where is TEKKAMAN these days? Did the rights revert to Tatsunoko?
WW: The rights have reverted back to Tatsunoko. Kenji Yoshida died, and Koki Narushima is no longer with Tatsunoko. Tatsunoko was bought by a pachinko game company, and I’m told they only seem to be interested in pachinko machines! Tatsunoko still has the English masters to our TEKKAMAN series, but it would be great to redo it with today’s technology in HD! If fans want to see the old show, or a new one made by Winckler-Oya Inc., write to Tatsunoko and tell them what you want!
I recently saw that someone posted funny battle clips from our original TEKKAMAN on YouTube under the name SPACE LANCE or something. It’s a riot! When linked all together, the crammed together battle scenes are hilarious, because Bill Hedderly went crazy when doing them! The YouTube comments are so funny! Amazing all these years later, people still love TEKKAMAN.
When Capcom released the Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom video games, American gamers contacted me… bombarded me actually… to see if I would give the rights to TEKKAMAN for the game to be released in the U.S. Of course, I had no rights to give, because the English Tekkaman TEKKAMAN is owned by Tatsunoko.
I also recall there was some communication where I might have worked with Saban and his guys in dubbing the TEKKAMAN BLADE series, but after seeing it, it just didn’t interest me. It was a totally different show from my TEKKAMAN. My show was one of the last done by the late, great Tatsuo Yoshida, and it had the famous “Tatsunoko Color”… whereas the sequel was produced by others, and definitely did not have the famous “Tatsunoko Color!” I recall Koki Narushima telling me that the company lost it’s soul, and lost the “Tatsunoko Color.” I guess they never got it back, because when Tatsuo Yoshida died, he took it with him! If you look at all the Tatsunoko productions after Tatsuo’s passing, in the main scheme of things, none of them really were as successful or as artistic as the original classics. If you take GATCHAMAN for example, the original GATCHAMAN was pure gold, but GATCHAMAN II and GATCHAMAN FIGHTER just paled by comparison.
I did work with Tatsunoko again around ten years later, when I put together the SPEED RACER toy licensing deal with Playing Mantis. I was the guy responsible for bringing 1/64th scale die-cast cars from SPEED RACER to America for the fist time, and I even designed the toys… the Mach 5’s with the different attachable parts… buzz saws, jacks… and Tom Lowe, the president of Playing Mantis incorporated my designs into the line. My SPEED RACER cars were one of the most successful lines Playing Mantis ever had. Their top sellers.
Believe it or not, after TEKKAMAN, reps from Toei came to us with FIST OF THE NORTH STAR and MICROID S. I actually wrote up a small pilot presentation for MICROID S, retitled THE MICRO-AGENTS, and we dubbed it. I can’t recall what happened, but it never took off. Ironically, years later as you know, I did make FIST OF THE NORTH STAR as six movies, playing the voice of Kenshiro! Funny how life works!
SFJ: How did working on TEKKAMAN lead to films like DOUBLE-D AVENGER and FRANKENSTEIN VS. THE CREATURE FROM BLOOD COVE?
WW: Eventually I made the move to live-action. DOUBLE-D AVENGER was, to be frank, a silly, z-grade farce, because it was made for very little money. I wrote, produced and directed the one and only Russ Meyer reunion movie comedy starring Russ’s biggest (pun intended) stars. Kitten Natividad (Russ Meyer’s BENEATH THE VALLEY OF THE ULTRA-VIXENS), Haji (Russ Meyer’s FASTER PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL!) and Raven De La Croix (Russ Meyer’s UP!)… with a special cameo by Forrest J. Ackerman. The movie instantly made money, and continues to make money to this day! We put out DVDs, VHS videos, and even Joe Bob Briggs did a comical audio commentary on one version. There’s a Japanese language version, and a French version, and even merchandise, like licensed model kits by GeoMetric Designs!
The success of Double-D Avenger, allowed me to make a “real film” with a “real budget,” and that’s how FRANKENSTEIN VS. THE CREATURE FROM BLOOD COVE came about. I wrote, produced and directed an homage to classic Universal monster movies, and 1950’s creature features, and made it in black and white. I also played a major role in it, as a cheesecake magazine photographer. There were several celebrity cameos in the movie, including Ron Jeremy, Lloyd Kaufman, Butch Patrick, Raven De La Croix, and David Gerrold. The film was a very good seller, and it even won a “Best Feature Film Award” at the 2006 World Horror Convention, which is a great honor. Our special effects make-ups were done by a team who worked on big shows like BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and SPIDER-MAN. Most fans and critics praise FRANKENSTEIN VS. THE CREATURE FROM BLOOD COVE, giving mostly great reviews, and I think it really is a fun, quality movie. Many fans say it’s like watching a long lost AIP classic!
Merchandise was licensed for FRANKENSTEIN VS. THE CREATURE as well, including soundtrack CDs by Lakeshore Records, which is the top soundtrack record label in Hollywood, Blood Cove Creature model kits by GeoMetric Designs, tee-shirts by November Fire, posters, and other goodies.
Both DOUBLE-D AVENGER and FRANKENSTEIN VS. THE CREATURE are still available on Amazon.com as downloads to rent, downloads to own, and on DVD. A lot of the merchandise is also available on Amazon.
SFJ: And now you are back to Japanese cartoons. What made you revisit that genre?
WW: DOUBLE-D AVENGER was successful in Japan on DVD, and I had an agent there named Takanori Oya. Takanori and I were like brothers separated at birth, we have so much in common. We decided to form a company together, and that’s what we did. We formed Winckler-Oya Inc., and almost immediately we started doing work for video game companies, and then Toei Animation, and Capcom.
It was Toei who actually came to us! They recalled my working with Tatsunoko, Takanori Oya met with the executive vice president Kozo Morishita, and Mr. Morishita, or Morishita-san wanted us to produce English versions of various anime series for them. We began almost immediately. These projects had nothing at all to do with Toei’s Los Angeles satellite office. We always dealt with the main Tokyo studio executives. I also worked with Shinji Shimizu a lot… he was a very nice guy.
SFJ: How did the relationship with Toei start?
WW: We started with GAIKING. Mr. Morishita wanted to make compilation feature films based on the classic series. It was his thought that movie trilogies would be easy to sell to “mainstream America” as opposed to series. He also wanted to establish a presence in broadband with the films. You see, these were never licensing deals. Toei wanted to finally own their own English versions of their own properties, instead of licensing them out to licensees who weren’t always honest, or didn’t pay the advances Toei wanted, or just didn’t share the money Toei expected. Mr. Morishita’s vision was to copy Disney, for Toei Animation to finally own English versions of their classics forever, and he hired Winckler-Oya to do it. You see with Broadband, fans of these shows could see the English language versions anywhere in the world. Toei would not need licensees, and would retain one hundred percent of the profits from all the films. This was actually very revolutionary thinking for a Japanese company!
For GAIKING, and each series or property that followed, we would actually create full length movies that had a beginning, a middle, and an end. Many of the movies were built from two-part episodes, and would often include story arch episodes… so in reality, you got a nice, “cream of the crop” condensed version of a series without having to watch all one hundred episodes. Mr. Morishita also thought that mainstream Americans would not have the time to sit thought thousands of episodes, but they would sit through movies. Our finished films actually play like real movies.
Although these films were to be designed for mainstream Americans, the plots, stories, character names, background music, etc., remained faithful and true to the original Japanese elements.
Look, if hardcore anime fans just want their anime in Japanese, they can watch it that way, no problem… but for the rest of “mainstream America”… which is what Toei executives wanted… that was the target audience… fine English dubbing is what was needed. Most people don’t want to “read a movie,” they want to watch it. Mr. Morishita knew what he was doing.
It’s interesting to point out that Toei has been making compilation movies based on anime series for years, dating back to the 1960’s. So, this method is nothing new. What’s interesting is that Mr. Morishita wanted both original aspect ratio versions, as well as wide-screen versions… and so that’s what we made… for broadband distribution. We produced HD versions, made off the best master sources available, in both original aspect ratio, as well as wide screen.
SFJ: So this is definitely very different from a standard distribution deal…
WW: We are not distributors. We are producers for Toei. Toei is the distributor and owner of our English versions. You are right, it is totally different from your typical licensing deals. Winckler -Oya Inc. is an independent contractor for Toei.
SFJ: Did you get to choose the series/movies you worked on or was that Toei’s decision?
WW: No, all the decisions were made by Mr. Morishita and Toei executives. Toei called the shots. Morishita-san selected the shows we were to create. In fact, Toei writers had meetings and put together the various episode combinations for each feature film. So, it was as if I was handed a giant jigsaw puzzle to piece together as films! It could get confusing at times, because a trilogy would be maybe fifteen different episodes, with fifteen different sets of master elements that had to be combined together in the exact order!
SFJ: What goes into taking a 26 or 52 episode series and paring it down to a movie or movies?
WW: Writing the scripts, casting, dubbing each voice actor one at a time, directing, editing, QCing, linking the episodes to make a smooth film that “plays” like a real movie, making new English fonts to match the Japanese fonts, in some rare cases creating duplicate music tracks in Hollywood based on the original Japanese theme music… in more extreme cases, being asked by Toei to come up with all new original music for opening and closing themes, and a million other things! Ultimately, I had the system down to a science, where we could produce a new trilogy in a month’s time. I was usually able to crank out a fully lip synced English script for a half hour show in one full working day. So, I can crank out five episodes a week. If it was for a girl’s show, it would take me two days, because for some reason, the girls talk, talk, talk in their anime series. The boy animes are all about action and fighting.
I will point out that most of the films play like actual movies. In the GAIKING films, we cover the story of how the robot was invented, the evil Zelans attack, there are various battles, finally ending in the defeat of the Zelans. With DANGAURD ACE, we cover the mysterious story of Captain Dan, the death of Dan, our heroes leaving Earth, and finally reaching planet Promete. In FIST OF THE NORTH STAR we did six feature films based on all the major story arcs of the main key characters, Shin, Toki, Ray, Souther, Raul and Kaoi. Those were really great films.
For STARZINGER, we covered how the three androids were grouped together, how they helped Princess Aurora on her quest to the Great Planet, and in the final movie she accomplishes her mission. For the girls anime movies, NADJA went on a quest to meet her mother, and she finally is reunited, and in LUN LUN THE FLOWER GIRL, Lun Lun went on her quest to find the magic flower, and at the end, she finally does.
For SPACE PIRATE CAPTAIN HARLOCK, we covered the story of the Arcadia’s designer, his fascinating story, and then the kidnapping of the little girl Mayu, who Harlock protected, and the final defeat of Queen Lafraisa and the Mazone. Those films are gold too! Many fans feels that the original CAPTAIN HARLOCK series was the very best, the cream of the crop, and luckily, that was the series Mr. Morishita gave to us to make compilation movies from!
What’s also interesting about these films is that it’s the first time many of these shows were dubbed into English and “concluded.” Over the years, some of these properties were dubbed, but the middle half, or last half, and concluding episodes were never dubbed. This is especially true for FIST OF THE NORTH STAR. I understand that the Shin saga was dubbed/covered, but nothing else was, none of the other character arcs or plot points were dubbed. Those were incredibly violent shows, but for broadband we never had to worry about television censorship. There was no “deactivating” or lines like “luckily nobody was seriously hurt.” In FIST OF THE NORTH STAR, when you died you died, usually in a gruesome or sadistic way!
SFJ: How does the dubbing differ from what was done on TEKKAMAN?
WW: Night and day. It’s quicker. We’re not really looping for hours on end. Thank you digital editing systems! You know, we rarely did this, but in some cases, you could remove a lip flap or add one, to help lip sync. In other words, you could slightly alter the actual picture, but again, we almost never did this. As I recall, there were some minor master problems on a few frames from FIST OF THE NORTH STAR, and we actually “fixed” the frames digitally. The newer anime shows didn’t have master problems, but the older shows did sometimes. For example, you could see frame slices that we could fix and clean.
Shinji Shimizu used to be an editor on the early shows, before being promoted to sales supervisor for the entire company. I joked with him that I was “fixing” all the bad slices he did years ago on GAIKING and DANGUARD ACE, and he laughed!
We could never do this in the analog days of TEKKAMAN. Whatever quality of 16mm master Tatsunoko sent us, we were stuck with. The scripts I wrote for TEKKAMAN were actually typed on a typewriter! Remember what a typewriter was?! Nowadays it’s all on computer word docs! You can easily fix lines too! In fact, my scripts as word docs are converted for our actual lip sync dubbing sessions! I just e-mail my finished scripts to my editor!
In TEKKAMAN, as I mentioned, we used Bob Clampett’s recording studio. However, for all the new Japanese productions, Winckler-Oya built our own “in house” dubbing studio, state of the art, with all the latest digital editing equipment, so we were never rushed. We could take our time and not have to “watch the clock” when dubbing these productions. On TEKKAMAN I was constantly stressed about the time it took, because we were paying by the hour! All of that is gone today, and of course, Toei benefited from these savings.
SFJ: Tell us about some of the voice actors you used.
WW: Incredibly talented people! The best in Hollywood! All of our voices have terrific resumes and are real pros. Larry Butler, Robert Axelrod, David Gerrold, Kyle Rea, Marieve Herington, Don Glut, Bradford Hill, Laura Siegel, Alison Lees-Taylor, Caleb Pearson, Chase Masterson, Nate Joyner, George Lindsey Jr., Anne Lockhart, Alexa Kahn, Bryan Forrest, Aurelia Scheppers, Beth Ann Sweezer… all marvelous! I also played various parts that were fit my range!
Everyone has been thrilled with the quality of our voice actors and dubbing! Hollywood really is the best place in the world to find the greatest actors! Hollywood is it, and our voices are all working Hollywood actors. The group above were the regulars we used over and over, although sometimes other people would pop in and do voices. Many people doubled or tripled. If you look up guys like Robert Axelrod on IMDB, you’ll see a mountain of great credits, Akira, etc.
I’m good friends with veteran Hollywood character actor G. Larry Butler, and he is a staple in all my productions. I think out of 31 projects I produced, Larry was in about 29 of them! He’s a marvelous actor. The girls I hired were excellent too, great singers, great at doing kid voices as well as adults. By the way, another interesting point I should make is that when I could, I would actually hire a minor… a real little kid… to play the child roles. Robert Tousignant and his little sister Michelle Tousignant, did many of the kids voices throughout all the movies, and believe me, having super talented “real kids” playing the kids parts makes all the difference in the world.
Butch Patrick, who played Eddie Munster, voiced a werewolf, and the famous stone character Nurikabe, in KITARO’S GRAVEYARD GANG. I thought that casting was special to fans, because little Eddie Munster from THE MUNSTERS crossed over to horror-comedy anime! Butch loved doing the voices, and thought it was a lot of fun! He’s very good at them too!
A lot of the dubbing sessions are like a blur to me, because we did twenty-three movies back to back, then five pilots. All the actors came in on time, knew their parts, recorded their stuff, and then left. Some guys, like Larry Butler, played villains like Raul and Kaio in FIST OF THE NORTH STAR, and they would sweat like pigs in the booth, performing many, many lines of dialog while in battle scenes. They were amazing performances!
All acting is about emotions. If the emotion is correct, even a deaf audience will understand it. As a director, I was constantly watching the faces of the anime characters, and adjusting the actors emotional levels to fit. All our people are such pros, they usually did this automatically. Great acting is 85% emotion.
As I mentioned, I played parts that fit my voice and were in my range, and I got to play many of the iconic roles… Kenshiro in FIST, Harlock in HARLOCK, Sanshiro in GAIKING, Captain Dan in DANGUARD ACE… but I also did character voices, which are always more fun than the leads… like Sir Jogo in STARZINGER, the evil Uncle Herman in NADJA, Yavoki the Racoon faced villain in LUN LUN… but my very favorite was Nezumi Otoko in KITARO’S GRAVEYARD GANG! He was so much fun to do, because I was playing Jonathan Harris! That voice fit Nezumi Otoko to a tee… it was a perfect match!
I do recall in the FIST OF THE NORTH STAR films, that I worked very hard to exactly duplicate the battle cries of Kenshiro… and some of them were bizarre… but the finished recordings worked… if you compared the Japanese tracks to my tracks, they were very similar.
Speaking of bizarre, when we dubbed LUN LUN, we were laughing our asses off, because the show was kind of silly. There was this sort of fruity fellow named Celi, he was supposed to be Lun Lun’s love interest, and at the end of every episode, he would give away/hand out flower seeds to characters, and say “here, plant these seeds.” The narrator, played by Alison Lees Taylor, (who also worked for me a lot in live-action), would then give some “flowery speech” about the “lesson learned” during that adventure! Bradford Hill, who played Celi, is a great friend and a very talented guy, and to this day, whenever I see him, I joke “here, plant these seeds,” and we both laugh hysterically.
SFJ: Can you walk us through the process used to dub an animated feature, yesteryear vs. today? Similarities? Differences?
WW: As I said, writing is the same, dubbing is easier and faster. I actually wrote, produced, directed and did voices in all twenty-three anime feature films, and the five pilots. If you count these movies, plus the various pilots and the old TEKKAMAN shows, that’s a hell of a lot of anime I did! I also did a few voices in TEKKAMAN, but never took on-camera credit for it.
When dubbing a particular show, each actor looks at monitors with the picture and the dialog in the booth. If they want to hear the original Japanese track, we can play it back anytime
For most of the anime shows we did, it was just me, the actors and my editors in the dubbing studio. However, on the Zombrex movie for Capcom, a large group of Japanese executives flew in from Japan and sat in a row, behind me, monitoring me as I directed. It was a little “different.”
SFJ: Are there plans for more features? Continuing the series you worked on or adding more series to the library?
WW: Yes, we may continue dubbing more projects for Toei. We’re waiting to hear back.
At one point, we were going to make movies of SAINT SEIYA. Toei gave me the entire series to review, and I thought it was good, but unlike the other shows, SEIYA was like one big soap opera. I remember thinking “Jesus Christ, there’s all this astrology stuff I’m going to have to write about!” I had trouble seeing shows we could link, and I think Toei realized it would be a tough one to make “real movies” out of. I believe the manga creator of Seiya was also difficult for Toei to deal with, so at the end of the day, we never dubbed that show. Frankly, I was kind of glad, because it just didn’t have the right elements for movie compilations like all the other shows we did.
A lot of people don’t realize that in Japan, anime series often have multiple parties who own it, or have rights in it. For example, Toei and some manga creator or two manga creators might own the rights to a show jointly, and in order for Toei to make new English versions, they must first get the approvals of the manga creators. Leiji Matsumoto was supposedly very nice, and loved the idea of doing these new movies with Winckler-san, but manga creators like Go Nagai, I was told by Toei, would be hard to negotiate with, and even if we succeeded, it would take ten years to finally sign any type of agreement. That’s why we did GAIKING and DANGUARD ACE, instead of MAZINGER Z and GETTER ROBO or GRENDIZER. I really wanted to make movies of the classic Go Nagai super robots, but according to Toei, it was virtually impossible. This would be unheard of with American studios. Hollywood studios like Disney can do whatever the heck they want with their libraries, but not so in Japan. It’s very different.
Certain shows we did were owned one-hundred percent by Toei, such as GAIKING, and NADJA (Ashita No Nadja). In fact, Kozo Morishita created NADJA!
We were also supposed to do movies of CANDY CANDY, but Toei informed us that the two ladies who were the manga creators of CANDY CANDY, hated each other like poison and couldn’t agree on anything! One of the women threated to kill herself, if the other went ahead with any project she didn’t approve of. Therefore, we did LUN LUN THE FLOWER GIRL instead, which was another anime series owned entirely by Toei Animation.
Music has been interesting too, because for every movie we did, the original music composers approval had to be obtained. We’re not talking about the soundtracks for the episodes themselves, we’re talking about the opening and closing title music. For this, Toei had to get permission from every composer and music rights owner. Most of the time it worked. In the case of FIST OF THE NORTH STAR, it cost too much money for Toei to reuse the original instrumental themes with instrumental melodies, so they had us hire our brilliantly talented Hollywood composer Mel Lewis to duplicate the music with Hollywood musicians. Therefore, when you watch our six FIST OF THE NORTH STAR movies, you will hear the famous music fans know and love, with instrumental melody (no singing), but those tracks were recorded in Hollywood and are all new digital recordings!
Whenever we had singing, the recording for that was a little different, like that for a record album, usually with multiple verses. However, for the opening titles, we’d only use one of the English verses, even though we recorded three.
When the executives in Japan heard our new FIST OF THE NORTH STAR music, they flipped! They loved it so much, they said it was better than the original tracks. I mean, the melody was the same, but the arrangement was all new, more modern. A guitar solo really blew away the guys at Toei’s Music Publishing Division.
For some reason, Toei couldn’t get the rights to reuse the music for KITARO, STARZINGER or LUN LUN, so Mel wrote marvelous new scores for them! For the Kitaro films, the music sounds similar to Danny Elfman type stuff, like Beetlejuice. I wrote the lyrics for all the songs, and on Kitaro, Mel asked me if I could sing the music in my Nezumi Otoko voice! I told Mel that I wasn’t a professional singer, but because this was a horror comedy, like THE ADDAMS FAMILY, it would be no different than what Vic Mizzy did when he sang the opening theme. So, I did it, and surprisingly, it worked! It’s hilarious, fitting in perfectly with the Yokai craziness!
For STARZINER, my God, Mel created a big, sweeping, grand STAR WARS type theme, that totally uplifted the original anime series and put it in an entirely different level. John Williams eat your heart out!
In NADJA, the opening theme had Nadja singing. Our voice actress for NADJA was a professional singer as well, so she did the singing as well as the voice of Nadja. Her name is Marieve Herington. For that, we used the original karaoke tracks, and Marieve sang to it. My new English lyrics were slightly different from the Japanese ones. When translated into English, the original Japanese lyrics sounded like the worst poetry you ever heard! I’m talking horrible, cornball stuff. In Japanese, I’m sure it worked, but not in English for a mainstream kids audience. Toei had to get the approval of the original Japanese lyricist, and she wanted to know why my lyrics were different. I told her they had to rhyme and tell a coherent story, they couldn’t sound like esoteric poetry that didn’t rhyme. She then asked why my musical lyrics had to rhyme! It was then I learned that most music in Japan doesn’t have rhyming lyrics! I couldn’t believe it! My lyrics were finally approved, and the music was sensational. When you listen to the Japanese singer on the original track, then listened to Marieve singing on our new English track, the two sounded very similar. In fact, when Shinji Shimizu heard the NADJA tracks, his eyes widened! He couldn’t believe how great it was!
I mentioned opening title fonts before, and I’ll point out again that when we made the all new English titles, we exactly duplicated in CG what the original Japanese fonts were like. For example, for DANGUARD ACE, the Japanese font has a big, fancy, red letter A in the title. So, for the English version, we duplicated that big, fancy, red letter A. Another example is FIST OF THE NORTH STAR. In FIST, the opening titles flash after lightning strikes, so we duplicated that exact same look… same style, same colors… and it was amazing!
Some of our English titles were even trickier, with moving backgrounds. In NADJA, we simply used CG animated over the kanji, as the title moves up into the sky. For LUN LUN THE FLOWER GIRL, little flowers were rotating like wheels over the kanji, so once again, we CG’d little rotating flowers over our English letters.
As you can see, we paid attention to every single little production detail.
SFJ: Of the features you did, what was your favorite and what were the stand out characters for you?
WW: KITARO’S GRAVEYARD GANG is my favorite! In Japan it was known as GE GE GE NO KITARO, and it’s like THE MUNSTERS or THE ADDAMS FAMILY with Yokai (Japanese) monsters. It’s kind of a funny action/comedy. The movies were just perfect! They were action packed, they were funny, very funny, and I was able to incorporate MUNSTERS style humor into the pictures. We just went wild with everything, the writing, the voice acting, etc, and the finished movies are solid gold! Hilarious! The best anime films we did, and we did a lot of great work, I’ve been told! The voices all fit perfectly! You know, having known Jonathan Harris for so many years, I’m able to imitate his voice to a tee, and I used it for the sneaky Kitaro character Nezumi Otoko, and boy was that a match made in heaven! David Gerrold was great as Oyaji, Caleb Pearson as Kitaro, Larry Butler as Nuraryon, Anne Lockhart as Sunnekake Baba, etc.
In fact, I was told the “powers that be” thought all our dubbing was superior to many Toei licensees dubbing. For example, our six FIST OF THE NORTH STAR films had great casts, and we were told our dubbing was vastly superior to the 80’s dubbing of FIST. Same for our quality dubbing compared to the Jim Terry FORCE FIVE dubbing of GAIKING and SPACEKATEERS/STARZINGER.
You know, as a funny aside, I met one of the original voice actors for Jim Terry at a Hollywood party, Richard Rossner, and when I told him what we were doing, he thanked me for finally giving the Toei classics the fine dubbing jobs they always deserved! Another bizarre coincidence! You couldn’t make this stuff up!
SFJ: I understand you are working on some live action or original movies now? Can you tell us about those?
WW: Toei had us make a pilot presentation for a live-action movie based loosely on STARZINGER. Based very, very loosely on STARZINER. We made the pilot, which runs about 9 minutes – the long version, and also 3 minutes – the shorter version, and it is dynamite. We shot it on the Red Camera with our award winning live-action film crew, we had lots of CG effects, great actors, alien make-ups, awesome music by Mel Lewis, etc. It was shot in Hollywood on stages, including a green screen stage, and also out in the desert. In it, there was a big hover car chase, a giant robot, unique characters, both human and alien. I then presented it to Syfy, and the president of Syfy liked it and wanted to see the finished movie. In other words, the pilot Toei financed and had me write, produce and direct successfully accomplished its mission. We’re now waiting to hear back from Toei on the next step.
The Japan disasters put a hold on a lot of things.
I should mention we also dubbed the Capcom horror movie ZOMBEREX: DEAD RISING SUN, the live-action Japanese movie based on the famous Capcom video game DEAD RISING. The film was written, produced and directed by Keji Inafune, the creator of MEGA MAN and DEAD RISING. I was the American version writer and director. The film was kind of an 80’s looking zombie picture, kind of cheesy, and so we did the English dubbing that way. I think it worked. The picture was distributed all over the world, on broadband, on DVD, as part of the DEAD RISING game, etc. In fact, in other countries, they show my English dubbed version with foreign subtitles, not the Japanse language version! I also played a voice… Mr. Kenichi Nakamura picked my voice and wanted me to play Honda, without his realizing the voice he selected was William Winckler’s, the English version writer/director! Hilarious!
It was a real challenge dubbing live-action as opposed to anime. Several of our anime voice actors worked on ZOMBREX.
My business partner and I have many other exciting productions planned… co-ventures in Japan. We also have a talent management company in Tokyo, marketing and managing American actors for work in Japanese films, Japanese television shows, Japanese commercials, and Japanese print ads, when American on-camera talent is needed. The division of our company is called Japollywood Artists, and it’s really taking off to be the biggest business we’ve ever had! Stay tuned.
Most of our movies have successfully aired/been broadcast throughout Japan on the Toei Animation Broadband Channel. They started airing in early this year, in 2011. The movies are in English and are enjoyed by English speaking and Non-English speaking Japanese audiences. For those of you who want to see our 23 anime movies for Toei on DVD in America, I encourage fans to write to Toei in Japan and tell them so!
Mr. Kozo Morishita
Toei Animation Co. Ltd.
58, Yokodera-machi, Shinjuku-ku,
Tokyo 162-0831, JAPAN
Movies in the 23 FILM PACKAGE include –
Earth’s transforming giant robot Gaiking must be used to stop the evil Zelan invaders and their monster robots. BASED ON THE FAMOUS MATTEL SHOGUN WARRIORS TOY!
The battle against the evil alien Zelans continues, and our planet’s only hope is the super transforming robot Gaiking.
The saga concludes as the Zelans, and Earth’s transforming robot Gaiking, face off in their final battle.
Evil scientist Doppler will stop at nothing to destroy the giant transforming robot Danguard Ace, so that he can conquer a new planet. Based on the famous Marvel Comics SHOGUN WARRIORS comic book by Doug Moench and Herb Trimpe!
DANGUARD ACE 2
The giant transforming robot Danguard Ace, must battle Doppler’s fleet of space robots, in a race to the new planet.
DANGUARD ACE 3
The saga continues in deep space as Doppler’s evil robots fight the transforming Danguard Ace over control of the new planet.
SPACE PIRATE CAPTAIN HARLOCK
Renegade space pirate Captain Harlock and his crew must stop evil alien plant women, the Mazone, from conquering Earth. CLASSIC ANIME CHARACTER SEEN THEATRICALLY IN THE U.S.!
SPACE PIRATE CAPTAIN HARLOCK 2
Space pirate Captain Harlock must rescue the daughter of his ship’s designer from the evil clutches of the Mazone aliens.
THE ADVENTURES OF NADJA
Young orphan girl Nadja Applefield, is a traveling dancer who is in search of her mother. ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR GIRL ANIMES IN JAPAN!
THE ADVENTURES OF NADJA 2
Young Nadja must outsmart her evil uncle Herman, in order to finally meet her long lost mother.
FIST OF THE NORTH STAR – THE SHIN SAGA
Super martial arts fighter Kenshiro must battle his evil rival Shin over the love of his girlfriend Julia. ICONIC ANIME SERIES SEEN THROUGHOUT THE U.S. – CHANGED THE FACE OF JAPANESE CARTOONS FOREVER! A FAN FOLLOWING OF MILLIONS!
FIST OF THE NORTH STAR – THE RAY SAGA
Hokto master Kenshiro must help his martial arts brother Ray defeat the sinister Yuda.
FIST OF THE NORTH STAR – THE SOUTHER SAGA
Super fighter Kenshiro must avenge the death of his Hokto brother by crushing the evil Souther.
FIST OF THE NORHT STAR – THE TOKI SAGA
Kenshiro must stop two martial arts masters who are brothers, Toki and Raul, from destroying each other.
FIST OF THE NORTH STAR – THE RAUL SAGA
Evil martial arts fighter Raul intends to be master of the world, and only Hokto fighter Kenshiro can stop him.
FIST OF THE NORTH STAR – THE KAIOH SAGA
Super martial arts fighter Kenshiro faces the toughest opponent he’s ever had, Kaioh, the sinister brother of Raul.
Three powerful androids must assist Princess Aurora on her dangerous journey to the Great Planet, in order to restore balance in the universe! KNOWN TO MILLIONS ON U.S. TV FROM FORCE FIVE!
Princess Aurora and her three android bodyguards must battle sinister space monsters and deadly robots, on their journey to the Great Planet.
Princess Aurora and her android bodyguards finally reach the Great Planet, but are ambushed by terrifying alien monsters.
LUN LUN THE FLOWER GIRL
Pixie girl Lun Lun, and her magical talking dog and cat, must search for a special flower that will bring peace and happiness. KNOWN TO MILLIONS ON U..S. TV AS ANGEL.
LUN LUN THE FLOWER GIRL 2
Lun Lun and her talking dog and cat must keep a magical flower out of the hands of an evil pixie girl!
KITARO’S GRAVEYARD GANG
Little zombie boy Kitaro, and his ghost and goblin friends, must prevent an evil wizard from becoming king of the monsters. ONE OF THE MOST ICONIC PROPERTIES IN ANIME HISTORY, FEATURING THE VOICE OF BUTCH PATRICK (THE MUNSTERS)!
KITARO’S GRAVEYARD GANG 2
Zombie boy Kitaro and his ghost and goblin friends must stop an evil wizard from flooding Earth!