SHIN GODZILLA Creators Reunite For SHIN ULTRAMAN
Source: Tsuburaya Productions
In 2015, longtime friends and collaborators Hideaki Anno — creator of the anime NEON GENESIS EVANGELION (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン, Shin Seiki Evangelion, 1995) — and Shinji Higuchi — director and FX director for the Gamera Trilogy (1995-99) and the live-action ATTACK ON TITAN (進撃の巨人, Shingeki no Kyojin, 2015) movies — co-directed SHIN GODZILLA (シン・ゴジラ, Shin Gojira) for Toho Co., Ltd. and Cine Bazar. Released in 2016, the film was a box office smash as well as a critical hit, winning Best Picture and Best Director awards for Anno and Higuchi at the 40th Japan Academy Film Prize.
Now, Anno, Higuchi, Toho and Cine Bazar are teaming up with Tsuburaya Productions to present their spin on the latter’s iconic superhero, Ultraman. Entitled SHIN ULTRAMAN (シン・ウルトラマン, Shin Urutoraman), the movie is an adaption of the original ULTRAMAN (ウルトラマン 空想特撮シリーズ, Urutoraman Kūsō Tokusatsu Shirīzu, 1966-67) television series, which has entertained fans around the world for over half a century.
While few details have been revealed, the filmmakers have stated that SHIN ULTRAMAN will be separate from the main Ultraman continuity, taking place in a modern world where the hero appears for the first time. The goal is to recreate the impact audiences felt when the first ULTRAMAN debuted on TV back in 1966. Toho will distribute the film theatrically in Japan in 2021.
Shinji Higuchi will direct SHIN ULTRAMAN. This will be a return him to the franchise, as he previously worked as a storyboard artist on ULTRA Q THE MOVIE (ウルトラQ ザ・ムービー 星の伝説, Urutora Kyū za Mūbī-Boshi no Densetsu, 1990) and as a concept artist for the series ULTRAMAN: THE ULTIMATE HERO (ウルトラマンパワード, Urutoraman Pawādo, 1993).
Hideaki Anno has written the film’s screenplay, with the first draft completed this past February 5. He will join the production full-time after completing EVANGELION: 3.0+1.0 (シン・エヴァンゲリオン劇場版: ||, シン・エヴァンゲリオン劇場版: ||, 2020), the long-delayed fourth and final chapter in his “Rebirth of Evangelion” anime feature film series. Anno is a lifelong fan of Ultraman, and made the 8mm amateur short DAICONFILM’S RETURN OF ULTRAMAN (DAICONFILM版 帰ってきたウルトラマン マットアロー1号発進命令, DAICONFILM-ban Kaettekita Urutoraman Mattoarō 1-gō Hasshin Meirei) while a student at the Osaka University of Arts in 1983. In 2013, Anno received a license from Tsuburaya Productions to officially release the 27 minute movie on DVD. DAICONFILM’S RETURN OF ULTRAMAN was also included in the 2016 Blu-ray box set, HIDEAKI ANNO LIVE-ACTION MOVIE COLLECTION: 1998-2004 (庵野秀明 実写映画作品集 1998-2004, Anno Hideaki Jissha Eiga Sakuhin-shū 1998-2004).
The main cast for SHIN ULTRAMAN features Takumi Saito, Masami Nagasawa and Hidetoshi Nishijima. Saito, who will reportedly play Ultraman’s human identity, has acted in such works as SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO (宇宙戦艦ヤマト, Supēsu Batorushippu Yamato, 2010), SHIN GODZILLA, YO-KAI WATCH THE MOVIE 2016 (映画 妖怪ウォッチ 空飛ぶクジラとダブル世界の大冒険だニャン！, Eiga Yōkai Uotchi Soratobu Kujira to Daburu Sekai no Daibōken da Nyan!) and the upcoming FUKUSHIMA 50 (フクシマフィフティ, Fukushima Fifuti, 2020).
Masami Nagasawa played one of Mothra’s twin fairies in both GODZILLA: TOKYO SOS (ゴジラ×モスラ×メカゴジラ 東京SOS, Gojira x Mosura x Mekagojira Tōkyō Esu Ō Esu, 2003) and GODZILLA: FINAL WARS (ゴジラ ファイナルウォーズ, Gojira Fainaru Wōzu, 2004), and was the female lead in Shinji Higuchi’s HIDDEN FORTRESS: THE LAST PRINCESS (隠し砦の三悪人 THE LAST PRINCESS, Kakushitoride no Sanakunin: Za Rasuto Purinsesu, 2008). Additional credits include FROM UP ON POPPY HILL (コクリコ坂から, Kokuriko-zaka Kara, 2011), OUR LITTLE SISTER (海街diary, Umimachi Diary, 2015), YOUR NAME (君の名は。, Kimi no Na wa., 2016), GOOD MORNING SHOW (グッドモーニングショー, Guddo Mōningu Shō, 2016) and BLEACH (ブリーチ, Burīchi, 2018).
Hidetoshi Nishijima has acted in CASSHERN (キャシャーン, Kyashān, 2004), THE WIND RISES (風立ちぬ, Kaze Tachinu, 2013), CREEPY (クリーピー 偽りの隣人, Kurīpī Itsuwari no Rinjin, 2016) and PENGUIN HIGHWAY (ペンギン・ハイウェイ, Pengin Haiuei, 2018). He recently voiced Pikachu in the Japanese dub of DETECTIVE PIKACHU (2019).
Producer and Screenwriter: Hideaki Anno
Director: Shinji Higuchi
Starring: Takumi Saito, Masami Nagasawa, Hidetoshi Nishijima
Presented by: Tsuburaya Productions Co., Ltd., Toho Co., Ltd., khara, Inc.
Producetion Companies: Toho Pictures, Cine Bazar
Distributor: Toho Co., Ltd
About Tsuburaya Productions
Tsuburaya Productions, creator and copyrights owner of the superhero ULTRAMAN series was founded in 1963 by Eiji Tsuburaya, world-renowned special effects wizard also known for his special effects work on the Godzilla series. With more than fifty years’ experience, it is one of Japan’s oldest and most respected independent film and television production houses. Its popular Ultraman TV and film series which premiered in 1966 has been seen in over 100 territories worldwide and has spawned over 3,000 licensed products. In addition to production, the company also handles character licensing and program distribution and staging live stage shows both domestically and internationally.