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Live Viewing Japan, a distribution company focused on bringing Japanese entertainment media to an international audience, has announced that it will stage a very special one-night-only Hatsune Miku event simultaneously in nine major U.S. cities on Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 7:00pm (local time). Hatsune Miku Live Party 2011 39’s LIVE in SAPPORO (originally organized by 5bp Inc. in August, 2011) will screen a live concert performance of Hatsune Miku in movie theaters in select markets. More information about this exclusive one-night-only event is available at liveviewing.jp/009_mikupa.html.
The cities that will host the Hatsune Miku event include:
Boston (Manchester), MA
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY – Two locations
San Francisco/Bay Area, CA
Seattle, WA Continued…
On October 16th, British label Third Window Films will be hosting the UK premiere party for UNDERWATER LOVE- A PINK MUSICAL (おんなの河童, Onna no Kappa, 2011).
Produced by Germany’s Rapid Eye Movies and Japan’s Kokuei Company, the film is a zany and whimsical tale of the romance between a woman and a sea creature. UNDERWATER LOVE was directed by pink-film veteran Shinji Imaoka (LUNCH BOX, FROG SONG), shot by Christopher Doyle – the famed cinematographer behind HERO and countless films by Wong Kar Wai – and was shot in 5 ½ days, one take only. It features an original score (in Japanese!) by the new wave/synth pop/punk rock/lo-fi, multi-lingual French-German duo Stereo Total. The movie promises to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Continued…
CONTROL TOWER Inspired by and Named After Song by Indie Teenage Sensation Galileo Galilei
Source: Twisted PR press release
Official Movie Site: galileogalilei.jp/eiga (Japan)
Special Thanks to Tom Smith
The four-piece indie-rock group blasted into the mainstream after dominating Japan’s ‘Senkou Riot’ teenage talent festival. Since then, their debut single has surpassed one million download sales and their first major label album gained top five success in the country’s Weekly Oricon Album chart.
Now, a film named after the first song they ever wrote, CONTROL TOWER (管制塔, Kanseitou, 2011), sets to capture the emotion behind the chords and translate the lyrics’ message in a medium that transcends the language barrier. Upon first hearing the song live in concert, director Takahiro Miki knew that he wanted to make a film from it.
“We were surprised and thrilled when we first heard about the project,” says vocalist Yuuki Ozaki. “Kanseitou was about those feelings we had as teenagers, battling against an overwhelming sense of hopelessness as time inevitably ticks on.” Continued…
Following up the release of its first full-length record in the U.S., Sony Music Direct (Japan), Inc., a division of Sony Music Entertainment Japan, Inc., has announced the U.S. release of a brand new EP by the Japanese pop artist/group, Ryo (Supercell). The new release, SEKIRANUN GRAFFITI, is available now exclusively on iTunes and Amazon and features vocals from Hatsune Miku, the world’s first virtual pop diva.
The EP’s title track, “SEKIRANUN GRAFFITI” (SEKIRANUN means Thundercloud), is also the theme music to the latest Hatsune Miku PROJECT DIVA arcade console game and video game for the PSP, which will be released in Japan this fall. The release also contains the new single, “Fallin’ Fallin’ Fallin’,” which was composed by Ryo and the celebrated Japanese Vocaloid producer known as Dixie Flatline. The SEKIRANUN GRAFFITI EP also contains instrumental and remixes of the two tracks. Cover art for the new release was created by Atsuya Uki. Continued…
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video, courtesy of the Nancy Hirsch Group.
Piano Rendition of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Source: Nancy Hirsch Group press release
Official Site: elewrockjazz.com
Special Thanks to Rebekah Stein and Teddy Getz
Japanese filmmaker Ryuhei Kitamura— director of such movies as VERSUS, AZUMI, GODZILLA: FINAL WARS, and MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN— has directed the debut music video of Rockjazz Pioneer ELEW; a cover of Nirvana’s iconic rock anthem “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Continued…
Classic Toho Soundtrack Re-mastered in a Deluxe Edition
Author: John “Dutch” DeSentis
Source: Toho Music Store
Special Thanks to Mike Temple and Ed Godziszewski
Over the last two years, Toho Music has begun reissuing some of their non-Godzilla related special effects film scores in deluxe packaging with re-mastered sound. Joining the already re-released soundtracks to THE THREE TREAURES (Nippon Tanjo, 1959) and THE MYSTERIANS/BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE (Chikyu Boeigun, 1957/Uchu Daisenso, 1959) is Yuji Koseki’s score to MOTHRA (Mosura, 1961), released as a dual disc set at the end of July. Continued…
VIZ Pictures, an affiliate of VIZ Media, LLC that focuses on Japanese live-action film distribution, has announced that it has licensed from Toho Company, Ltd the North American theatrical and DVD distribution rights to the heavy metal live-action comedy, DETROIT METAL CITY. The DVD is scheduled for release later in the fall of this year.
DETROIT METAL CITY takes the zany rock antics inspired by films like THIS IS SPINAL TAP to hilarious new extremes in this film directed by Toshio Lee and based on the popular manga comic created by Kiminori Wakasugi. It features notable appearances by Gene Simmons from the legendary band, KISS, and Marty Friedman of Megadeth, and stars Kenichi Matsuyama, one of the most adored actors in Japan today and known widely for his role as ‘L’ in the DEATH NOTE films. Continued…
On July 1st, J-Pop’s #1 idol and Hello! Project singing sensation Erina Mano attended the world premiere of her feature film debut, KAI-KI: TALES OF TERROR FROM TOKYO (怪談新耳袋-怪奇), at the world famous Club Nokia in Los Angeles, California. KAI-KI is the latest in series of films based on the hit Japanese TV franchise TALES OF TERROR FROM TOKYO AND ALL OVER JAPAN (怪談新耳袋*, Shin Mimi-Bukuro), which adapts actual urban legends collected from across the country by writer Kihara Hirokatsu.
Club Nokia hosted two screenings of KAI-KI: TALES OF TERROR FROM TOKYO. A mini-concert followed each showing in which Erina Mano sang the film’s them song “Returning Home” as well as “Sekai wa Summer Party”, a happy pop song that from her first tour album. Both Miss Mano and Tales of Terror creator Kihara Hirokatsu took part in an autograph signing.
In addition, there was also a Q&A featuring Erina Mano, J-Idol producer Tamon Andrew Niwa and representatives from the Toyota Creative Lounge who financed the project. Toyota Creative Lounge reps included the prominent designers Agga B., Anna Fong, Melissa Serpico Kamhout (Serpico), and Lidia Wachowska (evil kitty); all of whom designed exclusive outfits for Mano-san to wear during her stay in Los Angeles. Continued…
Although retired from filmmaking, Koichi Kawakita (FX director of the Godzilla series from 1989-1995) has managed to find a new way to stay in the public eye these days, promoting a series of products related to Toho special effects films. In January he appeared at Super Festival, introducing two new books concerning the Godzilla films, the DVD of ZERO FIGHTER (Ozora no Samurai, 1976), and some miscellaneous goods. Then in February he was at Wonder Festival promoting a garage kit replica of the Oxygen Destroyer from GODZILLA (Gojira, 1954).
And since late last year, he has been doing interviews in the booklets for each of DeAgostini’s DVD book releases of Toho special effects films. In Volume 18 of this Toho SFX DVD Collection series (DESTROY ALL MONSTERS), issued during May, Kawakita appears promoting even more goods related to Toho films. Continued…
Back in 2004, during Godzilla’s 50th Anniversary, Toho Music Announced they would be reissuing all the Godzilla soundtracks remastered in a series of box sets, each limited to 1,954 pressings of each (to commemorate the year of the original Godzilla). What fans didn’t know was just how long it would take for them to be released. The first set went on sale September 20th, 2004 and was highly regarded for its improved sonics, especially on the 1954 disc. Box 2 came a short few months later in December, during the release of GODZILLA FINAL WARS. Box 3 followed in April of 2005, around the same time as the release of the GODZILLA FINAL BOX which contained all 28 movies on DVD.
What followed then was a wait of nearly a year and a half as the fourth box didn’t hit the streets until October, 2006 and it took only slightly less time for the fifth box to come out in January, 2008. Fan speculation ran high as to whether or not the final set would ever be released at all. But after a wait of over two years (the longest stretch between two sets), Box 6 was finally released in Japan on March 25th, and the collection is now complete. Continued…
Anime Expo, the nation’s largest anime/manga convention, begins tomorrow and runs through July 4 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Southern California. Check out the previous coverage here on SciFi Japan for full details on AX 2010, and enjoy these final updates regarding expo guests and events. Continued…
J-Pop’s #1 idol and Hello! Project singing sensation Erina Mano will be attending and performing at the world premiere of her break-out feature film role in KAI-KI: TALES OF TERROR FROM TOKYO (怪談新耳袋-怪奇) on July 1, 2010 (World Premiere at noon and 2nd screening at 3:00 pm) at the world famous venue, Club Nokia, in Los Angeles, California. Advance tickets for both events are now available at club2themax.com.
KAI-KI: TALES OF TERROR FROM TOKYO is based on the hit Japanese TV franchise TALES OF TERROR FROM TOKYO AND ALL OVER JAPAN and is comprised of two separate short stories: TSUKIMONO: THE POSSESSED and NOZOMI, both starring Erina Mano. The film was written by Ryuta Miyake and directed by Makoto Shinozaki (TOKYO ISLAND), and features the song “Returning Home” performed by Ms. Mano.
Erina Mano will be in attendance at both screenings and will also partake in a Q&A session with audience members and perform a mini-live concert at the event as well. In addition, she will also be take part in a fan meet & greet and a mini-autograph session for a limited time at the event. Also in attendance will be legendary J-Idol producer Andrew Tamon Niwa (the man behind Pocky 4 Sisters, Tokyo Shojo, and Miyazaki Aoi; in addition to Miss Mano) and the acclaimed horror/ghost-folktale aficionado and Tales of Terror author Hirokatsu Kihara, whose work inspired the hit Japanese TV series and now the highly anticipated theatrical release. Continued…
Located in Los Angeles, CA, Anime Expo is the nation’s largest anime/manga convention. The event serves as a key meeting place for the general public to express their interest and explore various aspects of anime/manga, as well as for members of the industry to conduct business. AX 2010 will be held July 1 – July 4 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Southern California.
Attendees, Press and Industry Members are invited to view the video coverage site of the 2009 convention at AXBackstage.org and to register for the 2010 convention at anime-expo.org.
This year’s Anime Expo is offering several interesting registration options for attendees. The new Premier Fan package, filled with fun and exclusive benefits, is available to anyone who registers for a 4-day pass and books a hotel room within the AX hotel block before June 21st. Attendees who purchase tickets to the AX concert will save 50% when bought along with a 4-day Expo pass. Visit the official site for complete details. Continued…
La La Land Records has made the announcement on their website that their great 2004 release of Akira Ifukube’s career defining score for GODZILLA (Gojira aka; Godzilla, King of the Monsters, 1954) is going out of print on March 31st. There are reportedly less than 120 copies left in their inventory so fans who missed out on this when it initially came out would do well to act fast. Another great incentive to purchase this CD is that it’s price has been reduced to $4.98!
La La Land’s release boasts a significant upgrade in sound quality and is a no-brainer alternative for fans who cannot afford to track down a rather expensive copy imported from Japan. The only Japanese import still in print is the version from the GODZILLA SOUNDTRACK PERFECT COLLECTION which cannot be bought on its own. The 1993 Toshiba/EMI release as well as the version that came packaged with the score to RODAN are both long out of print. Continued…
Tsuburaya Productions is touting their latest special effects extravanganza, MEGA MONSTER BATTLE: ULTRA GALAXY (Daikaiju Battoru Urutora Ginga Densetsu The Movie, 2009), as a rebirth for both the company and it’s long-running Ultraman franchise. The producers of the movie wanted a dramatic, Hollywood-style score to complement the updated visuals so they turned to an American composer, Mike Verta.
Mike Verta knew he wanted to make movie music after seeing the original STAR WARS at age five. He moved to Los Angeles in 1990 to become a film composer, but soon expanded into visual effects work as well. He established his own post-production company and has provided music, FX, sound design, and editorial work on a wide range of productions.
MEGA MONSTER BATTLE: ULTRA GALAXY is Mike’s first soundtrack for a Japanese theatrical feature film. He recently spoke with SciFi Japan’s Steve Ryfle about his work on the film, his approach to movie music, and his crash course introduction to 40+ years of Ultraman history. Continued…
ZATOICHI – THE BEST CUTS (1967-1973): LIMITED EDITION
Music by Shigeru Ikeno, Akira Ifukube, Isao Tomita and Kunihiko Murai
Limited Edition of 1500 Units
RETAIL PRICE: $19.98
Presenting the original soundtrack music from Toho’s legendary “blind swordsman” series of ZATOICHI feature films. Famed GODZILLA composer Akira Ifukube, along with Shigeru Ikeno, Isao Tomita and Kunihiko Murai, provide the influential music on ZATOCHI – THE BEST CUTS (1967-1973): LIMITED EDITION, a compilation of dynamic original recordings from the ZATOCIHI films released between 1967-1973. This compilation was assembled from remastered elements from the Toho Studios’ vaults. In-depth liner notes by Randall Larson take you behind the scenes of The Blind Swordsman and his musical legacy. A Limited Edition of 1500 Units. Continued…
In Germany, a group of fans who grew up watching the likes of Godzilla and Gamera at their local cinemas have decided to honor the glory days of Japanese monsters with their own kaiju production; a German language audio drama entitled GUALAGON- FRANKENSTEIN’S GIANT OF TERROR (Gualagon- Frankenstein’s Schreckengigant).
In promotional materials for GUALAGON, the production group (known collectively as “the Gualagon Team”) explained that their idea was based on “the most beautiful films from the golden era of Japanese monster movies… It was during that time that most of the people involved in the project were introduced to the Godzilla movies. Those flicks usually played on Saturday or Sunday afternoons at the local cinemas in the kids matinee; and it was back then that we were first exposed to THE WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS [known in Germany as Frankenstein - Zweikampf der Giganten/ FRANKENSTEIN: DUEL OF THE GIANTS], the main source of inspiration for GUALAGON.”
SciFi Japan goes behind the scenes of GUALAGON- FRANKENSTEIN’S GIANT OF TERROR with exclusive information, artwork, and photos, plus a look at the German theatrical releases of the classic Japanese monster movies that inspired this upcoming tribute. Continued…
Located in Los Angeles, CA, Anime Expo is the nation’s largest anime/manga convention. The event serves as a key meeting place for the general public to express their interest and explore various aspects of anime/manga, as well as for members of the industry to conduct business. AX 2009 will be held July 2 – July 5, 2009 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Southern California.
Attendees, Press and Industry Members are invited to view the video coverage site of the 2008 convention at AXBackstage.org and to register for the 2009 convention at anime-expo.org. In addition, the convention recently launched a Japanese language version of its newly re-designed fan-friendly site to be used as a welcome portal to Japanese industry, press, attendees and fans.
Event organizers have also announced the attendance and performance of Japan’s most celebrated and top all-girl music group Morning Musume(also referred to as “Momusu”) at AX 2009. Continued…
If you were to ask any number of people, be they fans or non-fans, what they know and remember about SPEED RACER the most, chances are they will recall the great theme song which started each episode. In fact, the jingle has become so famous that to have anything Speed Racer related without it would be like having James Bond without the famous John Barry theme. Famous for its whirling beginning representative of a speed engine and catchy lyrics, the song is a recognizable and enjoyable piece of pop-culture.
Join SciFi Japan for a look back at the original MACH GO GO GO soundtrack, an interview with composer Nobuyoshi Koshibe, as well as a critical look at the score from the new SPEED RACER movie by Michael Giacchino. Continued…
On April 29th, iTunes will make available for download “ROAR!” the CLOVERFIELD overture. Written by frequent J.J. Abrams composer Michael Giacchino, “ROAR!” is a tribute to the classic style of monster movie scoring and has become a much sought after track among fans who enjoyed it during the closing credits of the 2008 film. Continued…
Reiko Yamada Plays Ifukube’s “Ritmica Ostinata”
Author: Ed Godziszewski Japanese Giants
On the evening of March 28, 2008, a rare performance of one of Akira Ifukube’s classical works, “Ritmica Ostinata”, was held in the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Seldom performed stateside, on this night Ifukube’s “Ritmica Ostinata” was tackled by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, featuring former Ifukube pupil Reiko Yamada as the orchestra’s principal pianist, as part of a program titled ‘Japanese Garden’. Continued…
Latest news on the next Godzilla CD collection
Author: James Ballard
Official Website: Toho Music
Following the release of the GODZILLA SOUNDTRACK PERFECT COLLECTION BOX 4 in October 2006, Toho Music have at long last decided that the release date for GODZILLA SOUNDTRACK PERFECT COLLECTION BOX 5 will be January 31st 2008. Altogether there will be 9 CDs in the set, with a list price of 10,500 Yen (approx US$90.) Pre-orders will begin early in the new year. The CD set will cover the music from the films GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA II (Gojira tai Mekagojira, 1993), GODZILLA VS. SPACEGODZILLA (Gojira tai Supeesugojira, 1994), GODZILLA VS. DESTOROYAH (Gojira tai Desutoroia, 1995) and GODZILLA 2000 (Gojira Ni-Sen Mireniamu, 1999). Also included is the first performance of the “SF Symphonic Fantasia” (1983) and “Ostinato”, both re-issues of discs previously released by King Record. Continued…
Eclectic Rock Arrangements of Classic Godzilla and Monster Themes
Author: John “Dutch” DeSentis
Source: The Monster Project
Special Thanks to Bob Johnson
Well now this is something that you certainly don’t hear very much. THE MONSTER PROJECT is a collection of rock arrangements of classic monster music, most of which is dedicated to the music of Godzilla. According to the group’s website, The Monster Project is a progressive rock outfit of seven people from New York City and presents faithful arrangements of classic monster movie scores. The group apparently had a short life, only performing between 2005 and 2006 before dissolving. Somewhere in that timeline, they managed to record this 65 minute album of material they had performed.
So just what does THE MONSTER PROJECT offer? Well that certainly depends on your taste and if you can accept eclectic rock arrangements of the music you know and love. As far as Godzilla goes, two composers are represented here: Akira Ifukube and Richiiro Manabe. Continued…
In the history of Godzilla fandom, there are few events that had as much of an impact on the image and perception of Godzilla globally than the release of TriStar’s “remake” in 1998. One of the shining spots that most people will universally regard as being the strength of the film is David Arnold’s fantastic score. Most fans will recognize Arnold’s name from the modern James Bond era. He entered that series after his album of reinterpretations of classic Bond themes (SHAKEN AND STIRRED: THE DAVID ARNOLD JAMES BOND PROJECT) came to the attention of John Barry, who recommended him by name to producer Barbara Broccoli during the production of TOMORROW NEVER DIES. In an age when mindless action movies are plagued by the likes of Hans Zimmer clones that simply program the loop machine and slap on some standard rhythm sequences, David Arnold’s music has always had a wonderfully organic life. The GODZILLA score and his scores to INDEPENDENCE DAY and STARGATE are often coupled together being as they all have similar musical subject matter as well as being his only collaborations with director Roland Emmerich. Continued…
The First Ever Performance in North America of Akira Ifukube’s Music for the 1962 Film
Source: The Austin Wind Symphony
Special Thanks to Patrick Phillips
Godzilla fans in Texas are in for a real treat. For the first time ever in North America, musical selections from Akira Ifukube’s score to KING KONG VS. GODZILLA will be played in concert by the Austin Wind Symphony on October 19th. The suite of music will be arranged by SciFi Japan’s own John “Dutch” DeSentis.
The upcoming October concert will feature the likes of John Williams and Danny Elfman, but conductor Patrick Phillips was looking for a little something else as well: “As I was preparing and selecting the music for The Austin Wind Symphony’s upcoming ‘Creature Features’ concert, it occurred to me that the ‘King of the Monsters’ wasn’t among them. I have always been a fan of the Godzilla films, and was moved to do an internet search for existing Godzilla music written by the late Akira Ifukube.” Continued…
La-La Land Records, a US label specializing in rare film scores, has announced its release of David Arnold’s original orchestral score for the 1998 TriStar Pictures film GODZILLA. While the GODZILLA film itself has been greatly maligned by critics and Godzilla fans alike, Arnold’s score has remained a much sought-after rarity. A 1999 promo CD (produced by Arnold himself for an Academy Award submission) became the source for bootlegs that have remained consistently popular in the collectors’ circle over the years. This new Limited Edition (3000 units) marks the first official, studio endorsed release of the full score. The 2CD-set includes 40 tracks totaling 109 minutes, including four bonus tracks. Exclusive liner notes are also included, and the set is available directly from La-La Land Records for $24.98 plus shipping.
For a complete track listing, MP3 track samples, and to order, visit the La-La Land Records website.
VERY early news of the live concert performance in Kalamazoo, Michigan
Author: Ed Godziszewski
Official Site: Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
Special Thanks to Kazuo Sumiya
Mark your calendars now. It may be a year away, but Akira Ifukube fans will have the rare chance of listening to one of the maestro’s premier classical pieces, “Ritmica Ostinata”, performed live by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra on March 28, 2008 and featuring the keyboard skills of Reiko Yamada. Presented as part of a musical tribute to Japan, Ifukube’s piece will highlight a program which will also feature pieces by Toru Takemitsu and Paul Hindemith. Continued…
Back in 2004, amidst the hysteria that was Godzilla’s 50th Anniversary, it was announced that Toho Music would re-release the Godzilla soundtrack series in six special edition boxes loaded with extras such as alternate cues, dialog from the movies, and several bonus discs. The first of these GODZILLA SOUNDTRACK PERFECT COLLECTIONs hit the streets in October that year and the second set followed in December. Strangely, there was quite a delay on the third set as it did not see release until April of 2005. Little did collectors know that the delay of the third box would be nothing compared to the wait they would endure for the next. Now, after nearly a year and a half, the long delayed fourth box is finally set to be released on October 20, 2006.
La-La Land Records Hits Another One Out of the Park
Author: John “Dutch” DeSentis
Following up their incredible release of the musical score to GODZILLA in 2004, La-La Land Records has made available for the first time ever in North America the soundtrack to 1962’s KING KONG VS GODZILLA. As most of Akira Ifukube’s score was replaced with stock library music for the film’s 1963 American release, this CD is truly a first.
Just like the former release, this disc is a grand slam, perhaps even more so than the first one. To me, KING KONG VS GODZILLA represents the pinnacle era of not only Toho, but also Akira Ifukube’s magnificent scores. Between 1954 and 1964, the maestro produced what could arguably be his best scores to both Godzilla and non-Godzilla films alike. KING KONG VS GODZILLA is a non-stop tour de force of great thematic material, much of which would pop up in Ifukube’s later scores.
Maestro Hiroshi Miyagawa, the award-winning pop music composer and creator of the score for Japan’s famous anime series SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO (Uchû Senkan Yamato, 1974) died on March 21, 2006 of heart failure. He was 75. Anyone who has ever listened to his work knows that those words barely scratch the surface.
Join STAR BLAZER’s Tim Eldred for a look at one of Japanese animation’s major musical influences and the man who provided the musical canvas for one of anime’s biggest animated hits!