G-Fest

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Re: G-Fest

Postby jellydonut25 » Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:56 am

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Re: G-Fest

Postby jellydonut25 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:51 am

Been considering the lineup of panels and what I want to see at what times...

Friday:
Noon - Sekizawa and Kimura: A Tale of Two Screenwriters. I like the idea of the Godzilla's Revenge panel here too, but there's one being done by Ryfle and Godziszewski later in the weekend.
1 PM - Torn between Green Slime and Objectively, Scientifically the Best Non-Godzilla Toho Kaiju EVER. Period. I like the idea of people discussing lesser-known kaiju and coming up with second favorites, but the Green Slime panel could present more information that I don't already know.
2 PM - Torn between Cheesy Monsters Raid Again and Bandai and Tsuburaya. This is another tale of what I find to be more FUN (the cheesy monsters discussion) versus something that has a potential vast amount of INFORMATION, and an analysis of how the Bandai partnership has shaped so much of Tsuburaya Co's output. Flipside really is that I don't particularly care for Ultra-anything overmuch so I don't have that much interest in the SPECIFIC subject even though I have some interest in the overall idea of behind-the-scenes workings and how things come-to-be.
3 PM - Kaiju Transmissions Podcast Presents: 30 years of Godzilla Vs. Biollante
4 PM - Bringing Godzilla Down to Size.
Will potentially attend the G:KOTM screening at the Pickwick that night too.

Saturday:
9 AM - Japanese Culture the Yokai Way: Spirits of Obon
10 AM - Akira Takarada Interview
11 AM - Shusuke Kaneko Interview
Noon - Probably gonna pop over to see Notzilla. I don't know what the Stan Hyde panel is about really, I don't care about Dawn of the Monsters, and I have no interest in watching Matt Frank draw...so I'm going with the thing that piques my curiosity the most.
1 PM - Heisei Gamera: A Look Back. Assuming I get done with Notzilla in time to get over there. I love these movies and would love a good discussion of them.
2 PM - Attack of the Giant Teacher screening. I'm interested in the Nessie panel also, but I really wanna check out this short from Yoshikazu Ishii, who designed some Millennium-era suits.
3 PM - I don't have a huge interest in the panels, so I may check one out based on when/if Attack of the Giant Teacher gets done, or I might just putz around lookin at stuff...or eat...or whatever.
4 PM - Godzilla's Revenge with Ed and Steve.
5:15 PM - Howl Beyond the Fog screening
6 PM - Lake Michigan Monster (this short looks insane and fun and stupid and awesome)
9 PM KAIJU CRESCENDO CONCERT

Sunday:
10 AM - Torn between Shusuke Kaneko Interview #2 and The Great Buddha Arrival screening.
11 AM - Kaiju Video Game History.
Noon - Kong Unmade: The Lost Films of Skull Island
1 PM - The Power of Ifukube: A Piano Concert with Reiko Yamada
2 PM - Akira Ifukube: The Man, The Music, The Monsters
3 PM - Godzilla Anime Trilogy....though...I hate these movies, and I don't know that I want or need a discussion of them...there's nothing else at this time, unless I were to go to a panel at noon on Saturday and save Notzilla for 3:30 on Sunday.
Then I'm definitely gonna go see Kaneko's Linking Love at the Pickwick that evening as it's likely to be the only time I'll ever get to see it at all.

This is fluid, depending on how I'm feeling and y'know, food, sleep, etc etc...but that's my rough draft of a "plan"-ish for G-Fest. I definitely want to take in as much as possible, while still detouring through the dealers room and artist alley and just also having a VACATION and taking it marginally easy because I don't take vacations, and I especially don't take vacations BY MYSELF, which is what this trip is. No wife, no kids, no responsibilities, AND I'm not just running in and running out. I get in Thursday night and leave Monday evening. I have some time to take it all in.
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Re: G-Fest

Postby canofhumdingers » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:12 am

Sounds awesome, have fun!

This will be my third G-fest (though my last one was 2008 w/Haruo Nakajima! Time flies!). My wife has been to every one with me (we were still just dating at the first one in 2005) but this will be the first time for my kids. We get in Thursday and may go to a movie or two at the Pickwick. Then Friday we are taking the kids to the Field Museum and on a pirate ship ride in Lake Michigan where the crew tells true stories about pirates on the Great Lakes.

Saturday will be our one real G-fest day and I plan on being there the whole day. I really debated on whether to stay for the costume parade or bail and hit up the Kaiju Crescendo Concert. As amazing as the concert sounds, my kids are really excited about the parade and this trip is more for them anyway so I’m gonna stay and watch the costumes with them. I do plan on trying my best to sit in on the Takarada and Kaneko panels on Saturday, but otherwise it’s just gonna be about having lots of kaiju fun with the kids. I’m certain we’ll check out the model displays, artist alley, and *of course* the dealer room.
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Re: G-Fest

Postby TripMasterMunky » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:46 pm

Long time since I've been to these forums.

My wife and I will be going this weekend as well (for Saturday only).
The concert seems really cool, but I think instead of going there, we're just going to take a break, have dinner, and get to the theater early.
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Re: G-Fest

Postby O.Supreme » Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:06 pm

I know this argument is as old as dirt, but it would be nice if the event moved around from time to time. Yes I understand that establishing a relationship with certain venues is extremely valuable, and brings loyalty, discounts, ease of set-up etc...no doubt...but a LOT of people are isolated. I supported G-Fest way back when, the two years it was in CA (99 and 00), an although I heard later there were some issues behind the scenes, I never noticed, and had a great time each year. Most other IP with loyal enough fan bases to have conventions travel around, so as to service the widest audience possible.

Especially with kids, and airfare being so expensive, I cant really afford to go anywhere further than a day's drive (say 600 miles) , unless its to visit family. There are plenty of comic book conventions, Star Trek, Star Wars, we even had a Transformers Convention earlier this year which I was set to attend, before my wife's health issues were known, but G-Fest will continue to elude me, as long as it is in Chicago or basically anywhere in the eastern US.
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Re: G-Fest

Postby klen7 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:25 pm

TripMasterMunky wrote:Long time since I've been to these forums.

My wife and I will be going this weekend as well (for Saturday only).
The concert seems really cool, but I think instead of going there, we're just going to take a break, have dinner, and get to the theater early.


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Re: G-Fest

Postby lhb412 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:23 pm

Have fun, guys!
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Re: G-Fest

Postby DannyBeane » Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:46 pm

Random note, the new larger Pickwick screen is fantastic. Look forward to seeing you all!
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Re: G-Fest

Postby TripMasterMunky » Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:03 am

Am I the only one who thinks it's ridiculous they are still showing dubs of these films at the Pickwick in 2019? I understand some people find these more nostalgic, but to show these even when the special guests attend the viewing? I wasn't expecting this so I was pretty disappointed having already paid the ticket and everything. I have no interest in watching dubs. It should at the very least be listed as such ahead of time on the site, schedule, etc.

*Breathes deeply* Sorry, now that that's out of the way... I enjoyed the special guest's panels as usual. Dealer room and convention seem more crowded in general from what I used to remember. Was hoping to check out the M-1 Jirass but I didn't see it there anymore after arriving on Saturday. I did however grab the AWESOME new M-1 Matango variant. :D
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Re: G-Fest

Postby canofhumdingers » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:09 am

We only went to the first double feature on Thursday (Godzilla’s Revenge and Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster) but I was glad they were dubbed. But that’s because I had my kids (aged 3 and 5) with me and subtitles would’ve been totally unmanageable for them. I do agree with you they should advertise ahead of time whether it’ll be subbed or dubbed and I think they should offer a mixture of both. I know (and certainly appreciate) they show the dubs for the kids, but that’s not the only audience G-fest attracts.

I will say I was surprised how well a (not particularly great) dvd image held up on such a giant screen. It didn’t look great, and obviously it would’ve been wonderful to have a higher quality source. But it was actually watchable! I was honestly worried it would look so bad it would be unbearable.
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Re: G-Fest

Postby Gojira07 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:36 am

TripMasterMunky wrote:Am I the only one who thinks it's ridiculous they are still showing dubs of these films at the Pickwick in 2019? I understand some people find these more nostalgic, but to show these even when the special guests attend the viewing? I wasn't expecting this so I was pretty disappointed having already paid the ticket and everything. I have no interest in watching dubs. It should at the very least be listed as such ahead of time on the site, schedule, etc.

*Breathes deeply* Sorry, now that that's out of the way... I enjoyed the special guest's panels as usual. Dealer room and convention seem more crowded in general from what I used to remember. Was hoping to check out the M-1 Jirass but I didn't see it there anymore after arriving on Saturday. I did however grab the AWESOME new M-1 Matango variant. :D



The argument will always be framed around making it as accessible for kids and families as possible. Hell, I remember back at G-fest 2005 when they had the US premier of Final Wars at the pickwick, which was obviously subbed - and the woman behind us had to read ever line out-loud for her child who could not read. The teenager trying to enjoy this film for the first time in me was annoyed - 14 years later I just feel bad for her and for the child.
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Re: G-Fest

Postby jellydonut25 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:38 pm

G-Fest really tries to cater to kids and in my opinion they absolutely 100% SHOULD. Adults should be mature enough to realize that without an influx of new young fans, this convention will cease to exist "before too long."

I loved walking around and seeing how much the staff went out of their way to really cater to children and the disabled. This should be common practice EVERYWHERE, and it really warmed my icy heart seeing how much the people involved seemed to understand that while 20-50 year old men might be like, 90% of the attendees, we don't need the red carpet laid out for us, and the special attention should go to those who are budding fans or whose day-to-day life is a struggle and getting to meet a guy in a Godzilla costume is a moment of pure bliss for them that lights up their whole world for a moment.

That was my FAVORITE thing about the convention, even though I obviously didn't 'actively' participate in any of it. Just seeing it was wonderful.

I'll have more thoughts later on the con as a whole, just wanted to float that out there for now.
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Re: G-Fest

Postby canofhumdingers » Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:17 pm

Well put, jelly. That aspect is really great, and bringing my kids to G-fest for the first time, I really appreciated how much the con catered to them! Of course, so did they!!

I’m about to photo-spam, but first I’ll give a quick (edit, ok, maybe not so quick) rundown of our experience. We went to the Pickwick Thursday afternoon for the double feature of Godzilla’s Revenge and GTTHM as mentioned above. We all had a really fun time and my older son told me that G’s Revenge was his favorite Godzilla movie we’d ever watched together (I had yet to show it to them). Friday we went to the Field Museum and on a “Pirate” ship ride on Lake Michigan, both lots of fun for the whole family!

Then Saturday was the big day. We got to G-fest just before 9am and got registered and everything. We hit up Minya’s place and the kids colored some Kaiju pictures. Headed to the model display and marveled at some of the craftsmanship. In the hallway we saw Akira Takarada pass by. But then he actually stopped, and came back just to say hi to the kids! He shook all our hands and talked to them and took photos with us and it was just super awesome and nice of him to go out of his way like that to make the kids feel special.

Then we went to Takarada’s panel (we actually sat in on the last 10 minutes of the previous panel to get seats). As he made his entrance he spotted our kids again and stopped to wave and give them finger-guns! His talk was interesting, if not a bit meandering. Apparently he got shot by Russian soldiers when he was 11 years old during WWII and had an operation with no anesthesia!

I was hoping to also sit through the Kaneko panel next, but the kids were rapidly running out of patience. They’d been waiting all morning to see the Dealers’ Room. I thought it would be open at 9 and not 10 so the plan was to let them each get a toy BEFORE the panels... anyway, after Takarada we hit the Dealers room. It was an absolute madhouse! It felt like being in a shark feeding frenzy. While in there, Takarada-san passed through and stopped with us for a third time (!) to pat the kids heads and say hi to them. He was just so cool about making sure the kids were having a great time! The kids picked out a couple toys each and then we went to lunch. Then I took the kids and wife back to our hotel (the Crowne was sold out so we were at the Hyatt) for a nap.

While they napped I headed back to the con. I stood in line FOREVER to get Akira Takarada’s autograph but I’m glad I got it, especially after all our interactions with him that day! Then I had about an hour left before everything shut down at 5pm so I hit the dealer room to make my purchases, went to that Kaiju toy museum auction display (and bought their amazing book), went to the G-fan art display and Artist Alley, and hit the Mecha-G Arcade where I played a cool 90’s Godzilla Arcade game. I still can’t believe I managed to cram all that in in one hour! Then I headed back to my hotel and chilled with the family for a bit.

Last we headed back to the con after the kids had a good nap. We got some dinner and then got a good spot in the hallway to sit and watch the costume parade. The kids LOVED that! The costumers were awesome about waving to and interacting with the kids.

Overall we had a blast. I wish I could’ve gone to more panels but my priority was for the kids to have a good time. Other than that, i have two gripes. Whatever was going on with the air conditioning SUUUUUUUUUUCKED. And the con has just outgrown the Crowne Plaza. The halls and dealer room were ridiculously overcrowded all day. But outside those two issues, it was a really fun day and the kids are totally hooked. They’re already asking about going back next year!

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So who else went? What interesting stuff was said in the other panels?
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Re: G-Fest

Postby XvGojira » Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:07 pm

I was only to make it for one day and it made me regret not getting a hotel room and going the full weekend.
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Re: G-Fest

Postby TripMasterMunky » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:08 am

Nice pics! To clarify, yes, I like the wide range of attendees as well, age-wise. I was mainly just disappointed with the theatre showings not being more clear on what's sub/dub so I know what to pass on ahead of time.

Also agree that the AC was pretty bad this year - most places just felt more humid than they should be. Plenty of water stations were good, but still felt uncomfortable. It also seemed like way more people than ever though too. Definitely had some crowding in the dealer's room. At least that was my experience from Saturday. Overall things were good, but if more people keep coming I wonder if they will need to search for a bigger venue/change the layout/etc.

Panels-wise, I attended the guest's interviews and the live Kaijucast (also included some guests). I briefly stopped in a couple others too. I used to attend panels all day when I would stay multiple days, but now since I only go one day, I use the breaks I have to check out the dealer room and the rest of the convention instead. Can only pack so much into a day (not to mention lunch/dinner break :D ).
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Re: G-Fest

Postby jellydonut25 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:06 pm

So (inhales) here we go. A full-on, massive breakdown of G-Fest 2019 from my POV. Pics to come *gestures vaguely* whenever I feel initiated to work within the confines of MZ's format and upload the pics to an image-hosting site and get hyperlinks and post them in here...

I got in on Thursday, but late. I didn't arrive at the Crowne until around 11, so mostly that was just meeting people I've talked to on here, Facebook, and podcasts for years, but in-person for the first time.

FRIDAY
I started the day with a workout at 6:30 AM, where I bumped into Shusuke Kaneko looking a little lost and helped steer him back to the lobby, and then the elevators because he was actually just looking for his room. For those not up-to-speed on what happened with his arrival at the convention, G-Fest never gave him the full name of the hotel, its address, or his itinerary for the weekend, which you need for TSA to allow you on your flight. He couldn't get in touch with anyone about getting these answers, missed his flight and then had to book a last-minute flight and arrived late, jet-lagged, exhausted and confused.

At 9 AM I went down to registration, another rather unfortunate situation with not anywhere near as much signage or staff to assist as there should have been, leading to a lot of confusion, crowding, people standing in the wrong lines (ie, pre-register vs buying a pass at the door line confusion), and general disarray.

At 9:45 AM, I got into line to meet Akira Takarada for his autograph signing set to begin at 10 AM. Given who this guy is, I have to say, it was WILDLY disappointing that just a scant 15 minutes before he was set to begin signing, I was the third person in line. It's really a microcosm of honestly this fandom as a whole, that the line to meet one of the stars of the entire franchise was three people deep (oh, and Kaneko's line, which he DID show up for despite the evident haggard look on his face, was non-existent at this point), while the line for the dealer's room stretched down the entire length of a convention center hallway (4 ballrooms) and curved INTO one of the ballrooms itself. Fights nearly broke out about people's places in line, with someone joining a friend at his spot while everyone started shouting at him that they'd been waiting for those doors to open since 3 AM. People waited 7+ hours for a toy room to open, and then fought about their spots, while I actually forgot to purchase my ticket for Takarada's autograph, so I had to hop out of line to go get it and when I came back everyone offered to let me return to my original place in line.

From around 10:30 to 11:15 or so, I kind of puttered around the convention, just looking at exhibits and things. This was some wasted energy that I wouldn't really do again. At this point of the day, everything had just opened so it was all SUPER crowded. I went back to my room, and unloaded a few items, grabbed a bite, made some coffee, and went back down to the convention...

at NOON, I attended a panel about Sekizawa and Kimura, and how their styles differed and why. Overall it was an okay panel (and I'll get to the positives in just a moment), but there was a LOT of conjecture ("It seems like" kind of stuff that left me a tad dubious about the research the panelists did...as well as one of them citing Wikipedia as a source at one point) AND there were WAY too many interruptions from people in the crowd. This was troubling. I'd been at the con-proper for about 3 hours and I'd heard about one of the guests getting somewhat shafted, been mildly depressed by people's priorities, dealt with overcrowding, and sat in on a frankly unprofessional panel. I was still having fun because I was getting to meet people, and Takarada was awesome to chat with for a couple minutes and to re-iterate something from earlier, the way the con treats kids and people with disabilities is SO HEARTWARMING....but I was beginning to wonder if maybe this convention would get a little dull over the next few days.
Some of the cool stuff about this panel though, they mentioned that Matango has 7 characters, and there are 7 deadly sins, and that the characters may not fit in PERFECTLY with personifying those sins, but now I want to re-watch Matango with that in my mind. Also, they talked at decent length about Godzilla vs. Gigan because it was one of the only scripts both Sekizawa and Kimura worked on together. They highlighted what they (and others, including David Kalat) had perceived as the parts of the script each man contributed to most and how the movie, on a script level, is really quite brilliant and a wonderful mesh of Kimura's cynicism, anti-establishment attitude, and anti-corporate beliefs, and Sekizawa's more optimistic and humanist take on life.

From here on, with really the END of the panel focusing-in on the Gigan stuff, which was the best part of the panel, the convention only got BETTER.

From 1-2 I re-visited some of the exhibitions and made my first foray into the dealer's room. The crowds had thinned considerably, as people started settling into panels, and I scored a Bandai Anguirus for my son, who's been DYING for an Anguirus toy, and I haven't been able to find one on eBay for under $45, which is outrageous to me personally for some plastic my 4-year-old is gonna smash into other plastic. I saw a few, overpriced as many things are in the dealer's room, but grabbed one off a table and was told it was only $20 because it didn't have a tag. SOLD IN A HEARTBEAT.

At 2 PM, I attended a panel about Bandai and Tsuburaya, that focused on how the partnership between the two has changed the Ultra shows over the years and turned them into glorified commercials. It was pretty informative, while still saying that despite these negative parts, there have been good shows and films made, and the panelists had some solid deadpan humor. Still a tad too many interruptions from the crowd.

At 3 PM, I attended a panel from the Kaiju Transmissions Podcast, about Godzilla vs Biollante, 30 years since it's release. Lots of great BTS info, very professional, very well-done, I was super impressed. This will get uploaded to their show in the near-future and while there is a bit in the middle where you may lose something because it's discussing concept art, the first half will provide a ton of background information on the movie and how it came to be.

At 4 PM I went to a panel hosted by JD, that was an interview with Mineko Kawakita, daughter of Koicih, and Yoshikazu Ishii, who Godzilla fans would know most as the guy who was the effects-director on the Godzilla, Anguirus, Rodan, and King Caesar fight from GFW. They spoke at length about Kawakita and what it was like living and/or working with him. Mineko said he never really made a big deal out of being who he was outside of the film industry, at home he was just dad, though he may not have been home SUPER often because of his work. She said she used to take her friends to set with her occasionally though, when they'd find out who he was, and one of her most memorable moments was when she was on the set of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, and Ghidorah gets his head blown off, a splash of the gold glitter spray splashed all over a cat that had wandered onto the set and it horrified her friends. Ishii for his part talked about how Kawakita would always push him to be better with his effects work and never be satisfied with something. Ishii also talked a little about a movie he screened this weekend, Attack of the Giant Teacher, but more on that later.

The rest of Friday was going out to dinner with friends and hanging on the patio and drinking and swapping stories.

SATURDAY
For those complaining about the heat, the AC BROKE on Saturday. It was okay on Friday, and totally fine on Sunday, but Saturday was a sweltering inferno.

Got a slightly later start than I had wanted and missed the Yokai panel.

At 10 AM went to the Takarada interview. As klen mentioned, it was a solid interview, if a bit meandering. The story of how he was shot by Russian soldiers (POST-WWII though, just to offer a correction) and had to have the bullet dug out of his side after the wound got infected was crazy. I remember the story itself vividly, so I can recount it later if anyone wishes. Somewhat unfortunately, the rest of the interview was stuff we'd heard before. His foray into acting was interesting though, with him saying Akira Kurosawa is the one who pulled him out of being just a stagehand and pushed him into the acting school Toho ran. Then he was asked a question about the movies he did between Gojira and Mothra vs. Godzilla and I think maybe something got lost in translation because he spoke about the Raymond Burr version of Gojira...
One cool quote though "I am not a member of any political party. I just cherish harmony and peace, and I spread this message via Godzilla."

At 11 AM, I stuck it out in the boiler-room....errrr...Ballroom 1, for the Shusuke Kaneko interview. THIS. WAS. AMAZING. He basically spent the first HALF of it trash-talking Gamera. He spoke about how he got into moviemaking in general because when he was a kid, he would go to Godzilla movies and thought they were really fun. When he'd get home, he would write his own mangas, but his mom told him his artwork sucked and he should consider pursuing something else in life. He said she has never told him one of his movies is bad, so he thinks she must be more pleased with his abilities as a director than an artist. When he saw the preview for Godzilla vs. Mothra 92, he sent a letter to Shogo Tomiyama, asking if he could direct the movie. Tomiyama said they already had a director in place but offered to have a drink with Kaneko and discuss...this was when Daiei contacted him and said he should discuss making a kaiju movie with them. He went to meet with Daiei and they asked him to do Gamera and he asked if instead they could do Daimajin because Gamera is stupid and for dumb kids and Daimajin is actually good, but Daiei said they wanted to re-boot Gamera with the success Godzilla was having. When he went home and told his wife he got a gig directing a Gamera movie his wife said, "So....you didn't get Godzilla??" He said he was at an impasse with how to even start with a Gamera movie, thinking he was just going to make a comedy/parody because he always thought Gamera was dumb, and hated things like Gyaos being named Gyaos because a kid said that's what the monster sounded like. He passed the first draft off to a friend of his to write and said when it came back, he was shocked that the script was actually GOOD, and for the first time realized that he could make a real movie with Gamera even though he thought it was dumb that the creature was just a turtle. He said he then spent basically the rest of the production, up to just scant weeks before the movie was released, fighting Daiei to keep the movie tonally the way HE wanted it, and fought against their wishes to incorporate more children and more camp. He also said because he was so worried that they might convince others to do it their way instead of sticking true to his vision, he got VERY involved in every piece of the project, including the special effects sequences and editing all the footage. He actually said this was why the movies got better as they went along...on the first one he over-extended, trying to make sure his vision was adhered to, and it was only after its success that everyone finally realized he was right and he could back off more and let people do the jobs to which they were best suited and he could focus more on his own strengths.
He also talked about GMK and though much of it was stuff we've already heard (about Anguirus and Varan), he did mention a meeting he had with Toho. Tomiyama had asked him to begin working on the movie so he came up with an idea and a script and everything and the board was skittish. Tomiyama offered a meeting, saying Kaneko had already started working hard, and so the board agreed and Kaneko prepared for a LENGTHY discussion. He said the meeting lasted something like 15 minutes, most of which was dedicated to the Toho brass discussing whether or not to even continue making Godzilla movies at all, because returns on G2k and GxM were so low. When Tomiyama finally convinced them to let Kaneko make his movie since he'd already begun some work on it, they basically just told Kaneko he had to use the kaiju they suggested or he could instead not make the movie at all.

At noon, I went to a screening of Notzilla, a parody film that was mostly funny and had some decent tokusatsu moments. Full review: https://letterboxd.com/jellydonut25/film/notzilla

Then I went back to the dealer's room, found a Gamera toy for $20, and grabbed an autograph from Kaneko.

Then at 2 PM I went to a screening of Yoshikazu Ishii's Attack of the Giant Teacher. It was not great, but not bad. It could have been shorter...but he brought one of the props from the movie and he was very nice and talked a lot about the making of the movie. Full review, including some of his making-of stories: https://letterboxd.com/jellydonut25/fil ... t-teacher/

At 4 PM I went to Ed Godziszewski and Steve Ryfle's Godzilla's Revenge panel. Very informative and a great look at a wildly underrated movie with Ryfle basically saying he'd always loved it and Ed telling how he was 15 and had made his dad take him to the drive in to see it and it was the third film of a triple feature and he sat horrified and embarrassed by the movie as his dad's mood just turned completely sour. He has since gone on to appreciate it, but his first viewing was terrible. I think this is going to be an episode of Kaiju Transmissions in the near future also.

At 5:15 PM, Daisuke Sato screened 15 minutes of footage from Howl from Beyond the Fog with deep apologies. He knew the full film would not be completed, but he had hoped to bring more of it for us to see, had hoped to have some dialogue, and told us he did the absolute best he could with what he had, and that he was still putting it together during his flight over. This was basically a highlight reel that got everyone PUMPED for the full version. The full version is supposedly going to run around 40 minutes or so, and he has plans to release it online and is even hoping for a blu-ray release. It's atmospheric and moody and seems soulful and emotional and the kaiju looks really cool. He said to expect the movie to be finished in November.

At 6 PM, I stuck in the screening room for a screening of Lake Michigan Monster, which, briefly was like if Steve Hillebrand directed a live-action 1950s monster movie. This was hilarious and really well-done. The humor all landed very well. It could have been a smidge shorter, and I could see how the style might wear one out since the movie is FULL-LENGTH, but it was very good. I'll have a full review later.

Then I ate dinner in about 6 minutes and we headed out for Kaiju Crescendo at 9 PM. FAR AND AWAY THE ABSOLUTE BEST THING ABOUT THE CONVENTION. This thing was absolutely SPECTACULAR. I'm totally blown away. For the entire day after I was giddy. A full-on symphony played the suites from Rodan, Son of Godzilla, The Three Treasures, The Mysterians, and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 74...INCLUDING the King Caesar song which was done so fantastically, it BROUGHT THE DAMN HOUSE DOWN. Then there was an intermission and act two was Michiru Oshima playing her Godzilla theme and suites from Megaguirus, MG, and SOS. Oh and also she composed a brand new piece of music just for this event. OH AND ALSO she treated it like a damn-near rock concert and asked everyone to stomp and clap to the beat of her Godzilla theme a la Queen's "We Will Rock You". OH AND ALSO it was really cool to see that her entire family came out from JAPAN to support her and sat in one of the boxes and threw her flowers and everything. This BLEW ME ABSOLUTELY AWAY. It got over around midnightish and we just stood in the lobby for almost another hour discussing it before heading back to the hotel and out to the patio and DISCUSSING IT MORE.

SUNDAY
Sunday was an interesting day....

...first we sat in on Kaneko's second interview for a while at 10 AM. It was okay, but it was all GMK-focused and all things we've all heard before. klen7 even said it got a little worse, as the translator really didn't know her pop culture or kaiju references, and so she would omit the names when Kaneko spoke of them and he even spent an entire couple minutes talking about the Hamtaro pre-cursor movies but then she never once mentioned those movies. I actually ducked out around 10:20 or so and headed over to the screening room for

10:30 AM...a screening of Great Buddha arrival. We were not at all prepared for the movie that this is. I thought it was going to be a padded-out attempt to remake the lost 1934 film, and add a story to it. Instead, it's a borderline experimental film, that features a lot of ponderous (in a good way) shots of a Buddha statue slowly making his way through Japan, and an extended sequence of 8 mm film with Buddhist monk funeral chanting over footage of people committing suicide. It also has a rocket bicycle and some funny comedy bits. I say this with affection: It's like the Asylum trying their hand at a David Lynch movie. Nothing can prepare you for it. It's madness....at least it is when it's being the movie that I'm pretty sure the director actually wanted to make and not just jamming in cameos for the sake of getting the kickstarter funded to get it made. It will clip along at this odd, stilted, ponderous pace with weird chanting and an insane narrative...and then it will fade to black and when it comes back, it's just a random cameo of a person talking into the camera for a bit and then none of that has anything to do with the movie. It's pretty obvious those were just crowbarred in. That's the worst part about the movie, but I still don't know what to make of it. Processing it still because it's so damned insane. I WAS wildly entertained though.

At noon, I sat in on John LeMay's Kong Unmade panel for a bit...it was good and I'd definitely recommend his Kong Unmade book (as well as his Lost Kaiju Films book), but about 25 minutes into it, a friend texted me that Michiru Oshima was in the lobby meeting people and doing autographs so I bolted to get a pic and a signature and thank her for the amazing concert.

At 1 PM I went to a Piano performance by Reiko Yamada, Akira Ifukube's top protege, in a dueling pianos style (I don't know who the other pianist was, they didn't do a great job of introducing him), and she played Ritmica Ostinata, a classical piece Ifukube composed and if you've never heard then do yourself a favor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzvpFzludYs and she played it WITHOUT SHEET MUSIC IN FRONT OF HER. I was blown away. Then they also played parts of Symphonic Fury 3 and 5.

At 2 PM I stuck around for an Ifukube panel from Erik Homenick, Ifukube's official biographer, and you can read like, his whole bio for free http://www.akiraifukube.org/home.htm and Reiko Yamada sat in on the panel and shared some stories of his life. I think this is ANOTHER one that will be on Kaiju Transmissions soon.

Then I met Yoshikazu Ishii, and got a signed poster of Attack of the Giant Teacher from him, and I hit up the dealer's room one more time, though I didn't get anything. If I had brought more cash, I'd have bought a pair of the Miki Saegusa earrings Mineko Kawakita brought for sale, the were only $150 and they were the actual props used in the movie.

And that was G-Fest. At least until....

...7 PM a screening at the Pickwick of Shusuke Kaneko's newest movie: Linking Love which features a young girl who wanted to be a J-Pop Idol Girl but now wants to be a rap battler, who then one day is practicing a rap battle against her dad because he ruined his marriage by being too obsessed with anime girls and while she's throwing some sick burns her dad's way, she accidentally says something that sounds like "abracadabra" and awakens a genie in a lamp in her room who then sends her back to the past where she has to figure out how to get her dad to not be obsessed with anime girls by turning her mom into a J-Pop icon and getting her dad to see the attraction of real girls and if she screws up too bad the Time Cop is going to lose his job. It's bonkers and fun and FUNNY and adorable. Back to the Future meets J-Pop. It could be a tad shorter, as there are just FULL songs from J-Pop idol group AKB-48.

And then THAT was G-Fest...

...except for the after-party, which got a little nuts.


And then for REALLY REAL...THAT was G-Fest.


I had an absolute blast. I don't know if I'll be able to swing it as a yearly thing (a flight, a hotel, I supported the concert Kickstarter, plus the ticket, plus Linking Love was, plus food, plus the autograph/meet-n-greet prices, plus merch...it was not a cheap trip, and I spent WAY less on merch than most people...and I also, due to keeping myself busy, didn't even each lunch most days), but I WILL definitely go back at some point. So very few low-lights that when I was asked "My least favorite thing" about the con as a whole, I honestly had a hard time thinking of what it was until I put REAL thought into it (it would be the disorganization with the registration and over-crowding when things first get going every day before everyone settles into the panels and the crowds die down enough that you can actually walk through the exhibition rooms and dealer's room).

So many highlights: seeing kids becoming fans, seeing some people who's day was totally made, seeing friends, getting some new and interesting tales from the movies, seeing new films that aren't available anywhere else, getting to meet Takarada and Kaneko and Oshima (and Ishii and Sato).
I could see how it could be less and less of a unique and fun experience if you attend every year, but would ABSOLUTELY RECOMMEND everyone who has it within their means attend at least one G-Fest.
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Re: G-Fest

Postby Gojira07 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 2:16 pm

I've been coming to G-Fest since 98, this was the first year I only managed to squeeze in a few hours do to my schedule. But I think the focus on children and the disabled is something that this fanbase has always excelled at - and I wish it got more attention. I know a lot of people the past 5 years have complained about their unwillingness to move the convention to a larger venue as the attendance continues to grow - but they are so focused on making it as accessible and family friendly as possible. Which they feel they're able to obtain in this space.

The one thing that has gotten bad for me over the years as I've aged, and Jelly you pointed to it - is the amount of interruptions in panels. This has always been a thing at G-fest, alot of people treat these panels like they are message boards and love to interject with their own jokes, theories, and arguments throughout. I usually leave the moment they get to a Q&A segment because most the questions are usually comments looking to start some sort of argument.
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Re: G-Fest

Postby Mac » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:52 pm

I attended and relatively enjoyed myself. Couldn't pass up the opportunity to meet Shusuke Kaneko. Was surprised that most of the panels I attended were quality, particularly the Nessie and Godzilla's Revenge ones. Wish the interviews were longer, but man it was hot. Only complaint was it seems most of the attendees were too focused on overpriced toys. Maybe I'm getting too old.
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Re: G-Fest

Postby TripMasterMunky » Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:05 am

Mac wrote:I attended and relatively enjoyed myself. Couldn't pass up the opportunity to meet Shusuke Kaneko. Was surprised that most of the panels I attended were quality, particularly the Nessie and Godzilla's Revenge ones. Wish the interviews were longer, but man it was hot. Only complaint was it seems most of the attendees were too focused on overpriced toys. Maybe I'm getting too old.


Haha, I always find it hard to believe people are willing to skip out on guest panels like Takarada-san so they can wait in line for the dealers room. So maybe I'm old too...

I used to spend money and collect way more, but I sold most of what I had and now just keep a nice, compact collection.
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Re: G-Fest

Postby klen7 » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:11 pm

I had a blast, but I always do.

The Highlights

Thursday I went to see GMK with our very own DannyBeane. About 5 minutes into the movie the lights came up and the film stopped and Kaneko walked in and gave a brief intro which was very cool. I find this movie fascinating on a lot of levels, so it was a joy to see it up on the big screen.

Friday Dealers room - got the M1 Jiras thanks to a friend who went above and beyond, and picked up some of the YMSF exclusives but overall didn't get as many big dollar items as previous years. M1 rules. I went and knocked out getting autographs on Friday as well, which I think was the smart move based on the lines the rest of the weekend. There was a panel on the history of Bandai and Tsuburaya that I absolutely loved. It was very funny, very informative and just an all around good time for a fan of toys and Ultraman. Hybrid Gojira, Kevin Derendorf and another expert ran that panel with a good chemistry that was absent from a few other multi host presentations. Friday night I had every intention of going to see KotM, but I fell asleep in my room instead.

Saturday
The Takarada panel was a bit of a repeat, he had a story about getting shot as a child that was riveting, but the rest were stories we have heard before. I would love to hear about his career post 54 aside from Nick Adams (every time) but we always run out of time. The first Kaneko panel was great. The write up JellyD has above is better than anything I would put together, so read that if you haven't. I pretty much filled the day with panels. The Nessie panel was surprisingly packed, but it spent the first 35 minutes on cryptids/hammer/toho history before getting to the meat. The other big highlight for me was the CCP panel. As a toy collector, it was phenomenal. Naoki Endo the president, sculptor, visionary behind CCP (and former top rated martial artist) gave a fantastic presentation about stylized figures venturing into international art history, philosophy, toho and sofubi. It was really very cool. I saw someone video taping it, so hopefully it ends up online. I ran into Takarada at 1AM by the visibilty bar and he took pictures with several tipsy fans.

Sunday I hit the second Kaneko panel, and I am not sure if its the long history of JD Lees disliking GMK in G-Fan, but it was probably the most awkward main guest panel I have seen in my 9 years of G-Fests, which was complicated by a rough English translation that Kaneko himself corrected multiple times. I caught some of the movies, but sounds like I really missed out by missing the Buddha. I saw Notzilla, it would probably have been pure gold in the 90s, it felt like Airplane but as a kaiju movie, equal parts clever and low brow. When you have seen the same kaiju jokes over and over, it was refreshing that this flick brought a number of new things to the party. I saw Attack of the Giant Teacher as well. I also ran into the infamous JellyD so I can check another name off of the MZ forum user sightings list

Overall it was a good time, and I am already looking forward to next year
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Re: G-Fest

Postby canofhumdingers » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:23 pm

POST-WWII though, just to offer a correction


Are you sure? It’s entirely possible I misunderstood something given I was tending to my kids while also trying to listen. But I’m fairly certain he said he was 11 years old when it happened and wikipedia (i know I know...) says he was born in April 1934, which would put this event in 1945 or ‘46 at the latest...

Glad it sounds like everyone had a good time! And thanks for sharing info on all the panels and events I had to pass on this year! I really wish I could’ve attended the Kaneko panel and met him/gotten his autograph. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be. I am glad I prioritized Takarada, though. It was my first time ever meeting him and was well worth it! Hopefully I’ll have another chance to see Kaneko in the future.
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Re: G-Fest

Postby jellydonut25 » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:28 pm

He said it was after the war, and was when Soviet soldiers came into the area for post-war Occupation.
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Re: G-Fest

Postby klen7 » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:37 pm

Oh, and someone asked Kaneko if he were to make another Godzilla movie who would he want to see him fight... and his answer was Gamera.
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Re: G-Fest

Postby canofhumdingers » Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:27 pm

jellydonut25 wrote:He said it was after the war, and was when Soviet soldiers came into the area for post-war Occupation.

Ah, that makes sense. Thanks.
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Re: G-Fest

Postby TripMasterMunky » Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:50 pm

klen7 wrote:Friday Dealers room - got the M1 Jiras thanks to a friend who went above and beyond, and picked up some of the YMSF exclusives but overall didn't get as many big dollar items as previous years. M1 rules.


The M1 table has really become one of the highlights for me when I go. Always something good there, and everything is priced really well. I wasn't able to get the Jirass, but luckily I got the awesome Matango variant. Debated on the chibi-Mothra larvae but ended up passing.
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