EIJI TSUBURAYA: MASTER OF MONSTERS by August Ragone

Discuss Magazines, Fanzines, and Books devoted to Daikaiju films! A Godzilla article in a Horror or Sci-Fi magazine? New Hobby Japan EX available? New G-Fan arrive in your mailbox? A Godzilla article in your local paper? Discuss it here!!

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Postby Mac » Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:40 pm

Hey, August, I have a question that kind of relates to your book. I was reading it the other day and I noticed the beautiful minitures that were built for New Kirk City. Were they ever used in any other film? I don't think such a metropolitan area has ever been shown like it was in MOTHRA, and thats a shame!
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Postby August » Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:21 pm

No, the sets were cleared after making the film...
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Postby Mac » Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:23 pm

Is that common practice? You'd think they'd re-use minitures quite a bit, considering how costly some are.
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Postby August » Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:39 pm

In those days, film production was so hectic -- Toho was releasing two new films a week -- that they didn't have the space to let miniature sets sit around. Whatever could fit in the visual effects storage area was all that they kept -- usually monster suits, props, and miniatures.

In the Tsuburaya era at the studio, the cities featured in each film was different, and Tsuburaya demanded accuracy in the miniature recreation of said cities, and they also built in different scales for different scenes.

After Tsuburaya passed away, the effects men who succeeded him, had less money to work with, and had to find ways to keep their budgets down, started saving these miniatures for use in other films. Of course, film production was down in those days, compared to the Tsuburaya era, so they weren't allowed the space to store them.

Hope that this answers your question.
Last edited by August on Sun Feb 07, 2010 8:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby RobD » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:54 am

Just a quick bump to say I finally got around to ordering your book August. Should be getting here from Amazon Monday or Tuesday. Really looking forward to it! :)
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Postby August » Sun Feb 07, 2010 8:51 pm

Let me know what you think, Rob!
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Postby mr.negativity » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:33 am

I'm reading it right now. It's great!
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Postby August » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:23 am

Thank you, Mr. Negativity! It's very much appreciated!! :)
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Postby king_ghidorah » Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:07 am

Darnit August when's your next book coming out already? Don't turn into a literary James Cameron and deliver something awesome every 12 years or so
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Postby August » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:52 pm

I've worked steadily since my book was published. I worked on several DVD releases (even before my book was published), including KIKAIDA, KAMEN RIDER V3, KIKAIDA 01, INAZUMAN, IRON KING and SUPER ROBOT: RED BARON. Currently working on another project, which will keep me busy throughout 2010. Then, I can start thinking about another book... :)
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Postby king_ghidorah » Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:39 pm

August wrote:I've worked steadily since my book was published. I worked on several DVD releases (even before my book was published), including KIKAIDA, KAMEN RIDER V3, KIKAIDA 01, INAZUMAN, IRON KING and SUPER ROBOT: RED BARON. Currently working on another project, which will keep me busy throughout 2010. Then, I can start thinking about another book... :)


I can't imagine what it would be..hmm...if only something could break through the "Hard Shell" of secrecy here...the slow news is almost at a "turtle" pace...lol
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Postby August » Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:42 pm

There's no secrecy at play here. Just waiting for the official wurd. But, this is a subject for a different thread. :P
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Postby mr.negativity » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:09 pm

August wrote:Thank you, Mr. Negativity! It's very much appreciated!! :)

Your welcome
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Postby RobD » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:35 am

It's great! I'm just getting to the Ultra Q beginnings so have a ways to go in the book.

From what I've read so far though, simply excellent. Very easy to read and understand, lot's of cool behind the scenes photos and some really great stories from the sets of the movies.

One thing that keeps messing me up are the thick pages of the book! I sometimes think I've skipped a few pages and realize it's simply because the pages are cut pretty thick! :lol:

It puts a smile on my face every time I see the cover of the book with Eiji giving direction to Ultraman. :)
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Postby August » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:35 am

Excellent! :D
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Postby ebirahsmeg1 » Wed Mar 31, 2010 2:23 pm

Recently picked up a copy at a bookstore in Shinjuku, Tokyo (on the 6th floor where all the English books are in the "Books on Japan" section). Overall, very nice work. All past differences on here aside, I thought this was a very solid book, right up there with Steve Ryfle's, Ed G's, and Guy Tucker's works. It was awesome that the book contained official photos from TOHO and personal pictures of Tsuburaya’s private life. Nice job :th-up: Look forward to hopefully more English books on the genre like this in the future (Would love to see Ryfle or anyone make an updated book in the vein of "Japan's favorite Mon-star", but focusing on the the millennium films, and perhaps the new G film coming up in 2012). With Ed G and Ryfle coming out with a Honda biography down the road, I think their Honda work and this Tsuburaya book will complement each other perfectly.
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Postby August » Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:37 pm

Thanks for the kind compliments! Now, I don't know what differences you are referring to (nor do I want to be reminded), since I tend to forget arguments with people on the internet (because such confrontations are the product of the shortcomings of the medium). So, I have no differences towards you, and neither should you towards me (I should hope).

The book is a milestone for a number of reasons (regardless of my involvement), the foremost being the first book on Tsuburaya to be published outside of Japan, and having the full cooperation from Toho and other companies (spearheaded by Tsuburaya Productions), in getting this official and authorized project off the ground. I was commissioned to write this by Tsuburaya Productions, and had to pass snuff with Chronicle Books, and was asked to submit a 30-page sample of writing -- and then we were off! There was a lot more to the book, but had to be cut down for length -- they wanted a 50,000-word manuscript, and I submitted a 90,000-word manuscript (there were some great stories and anecdotes that were lost in the process...).

As for the photos, they didn't come from Toho; but they were required to give us full consent in using whatever the editors wanted. Rather, they came from the Tsuburaya family, Tsuburaya Productions, Tsuburaya Historian Hiroshi Takeuchi, myself, and private collectors (such as Ed G.). The photos were gathered by former Tsuburaya Productions employee, Brad Warner, who served as fact-checker and production supervisor on the book. We had absolutely no problems with the Toho content, because this was all mediated by Tsuburaya Productions. But, I really have to thank my editors, Leigh Anna McFadden and Steve Mockus for believing in this project and keeping it going during development hell (from 2002-2005), and just being cool folks!

And I assume you're talking about the Books Kinokuniya near Studio Alta, and not at Shinjuku Station? That was one of the main bookstores I haunted when I lived there in the 1980s... Last time I was there was in 2002 (I usually hit the Shosen Grande stores in Jimbocho and Akihabara or Sanseido). Incidentally, I live about four blocks away from the Kinokuniya in San Francisco, where I bought my second Japanese Godzilla book in 1974 (the first I bought was in 1973 at the late and lamented Goshado Books).

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Postby ebirahsmeg1 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:33 am

I concur with you about internet arguments and not holding grudges...we all get caught up in it, and the medium can bring out the worst in all of us (I've been guilty of it at times as well). Any G fan in Japan is a friend of mine, so coffee, beer, or "O-sake" sounds good. :th-up:


Yup, the Kinokuniya is indeed the store I am talking about (in fact, the most recent time I went there was about 2 months ago, and another copy of your book was there for sale, so it seems it's selling well, even in Japan).


It was a very solid book...everyone involved did a good job and deserves their props. It's nice to see TOHO actually cooperating for a change on something...hopefully this will be a sign of things to come when future books are written.

I remember seeing a similar style of Japanese book on Tsuburaya about 2 years before yours came out that looked very interesting...but alas, it was all in Japanese, and my kanji skills still aren't up to snuff. So this book definitely filled in a major need for Western books on the genre (and I can't wait for Ryfle's/Ed G's upcoming work on Honda...I am sure these books will compliment each other perfectly). Besides Ultraman and Godzilla, Tsuburaya did fantastic work in his Russo-Japanese/Battle of Tsushima film, which has always been a favorite of mine (I love history and have been studying this war alot lately...considering going to Russia next year as well), so I was happy that it was mentioned in your book, as it is often overlooked.


I hope we get to see more works from you, Ryfle (would *LOVE* to see a follow-up to Japan's Favorite Mon-star covering everything post GvsDestroyer) when G2012 comes out. Any other works in the pipe line down the road? If so, then best of luck, and you have someone here who will buy it...
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Postby August » Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:46 pm

ebirahsmeg1, cheers and thanks! :)
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Postby August » Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:13 am

Spotted at the Mitsukoshi Department Store in the Japan Pavilion at Disney's Epcot Center, Florida!

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Photo by Bryan Edwards
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Postby TripMasterMunky » Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:02 am

http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j143/ ... C01041.jpg

A familiar image at Ultraman Festival 2011.

I love how it looks like Ultraman is being scolded by Tsuburaya, and Baltan is just totally bummed out in the background.
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Postby August » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:49 pm

Gotta love that photo — iconic! My book has been sold at the Ultraman Festivals, and other Tsuburaya/Ultraman events, around Japan over the last few years. It's quite an honor! :)
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Postby metal_bryan » Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:00 pm

Thanks for the photo credit, August. :) I'll be going back to Epcot before the end of the year and I'll see if it's still on a display stand. If not, I'll put it on one. :lol:
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Postby August » Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:11 pm

metal_bryan wrote:Thanks for the photo credit, August. :) I'll be going back to Epcot before the end of the year and I'll see if it's still on a display stand. If not, I'll put it on one. :lol:


Thanks — and you're welcome! :D
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Postby buttcakefred » Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:28 pm

Is this still in print? I regret not buying it when I spotted a copy at a Borders 2-3 years ago. I'll probably go the amazon/ebay route just to insure I get a mint copy. Looks like a lot of love was put into it.
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