Just got back from G-Fest 25. Another really good year
I posted a bunch of stuff on my tumblr all weekend long as it was happening, but here's links to the good stuff so you don't have to wade through all the inside jokes
Keizo Murase was an absolute treasure and worth the trip for him alone. He had two panels, the first went in to a lot of detail about his suit building techniques and stories, the second was for the project he is currently working on. Unfortunately I think a lot of people ended up missing the first panel since it was on Friday and all the Murase directed questions asked on Saturday had already been answered the previous day. Fortunately the moderators caught on after the 4th repeat and got the Q&A back on track. I took about 5 pages of notes on the little hotel notepad, but it looked like it was recorded, so maybe that will be uploaded but the highlights:
-Varan's skin was textured with peanut shells
-His main focus was cutting weight on the Godzilla suit when he started
-Working with a flying turtle is difficult
- Gamera's flames were a problem. He had add more velocity to the fuel to keep the face from melting, which meant the flames typically shot 4-5 meters.
-The flying scenes often resulted in needing to repair the suit as the pyrotechnics burned down and
-The reason they used hose for Varan's spikes was they need something that could pop back up after he rolled (didn't want something snapping off)
- King ghidorah was envisioned as a man in suit with wire work, but was too heavy.
-KG required 15-16 puppeteers. Each head required two wires for positioning and acting, but the mouths were remotely driven motors
- In his early days they shot around suit damage, as production got cheaper they were able to make replacement parts
- one time flying gamera melted his piano wire and crashed into the set burning down the miniature forest
- Mothra's eye was built from the inside out, they wanted something solemn/sad (?translation)
Also Keizo Murase dressed up in a full body Mighty Peking Man suit and attacked the audience. it was wonderful and unexpected. (Short video: http://klen7.tumblr.com/post/175889740895#notes
Keizo Murasse also brought full size reproductions using the same techniques he did at the time for Showa ghidorah and mothra. And he brought the head and skin of Varan that he built for the Varan DVD bonus feature. There were other things like Godzilla skin, photos, concept art etc - but being that close to Mothra's eye, or looking into the hose spikes of Varan felt like meeting two additional guests that I long admired. I hope this kind of thing becomes a staple for future G-Fests because it really was worth the trip for that experience. (http://klen7.tumblr.com/post/1758590408 ... se-exhibit
Satsuma was great, he was so incredibly animated and a fun story teller... unfortunately in an hour long panel it took 50 minutes to get to Hedorah, so Heisei Godzilla wasn't even a blip. Much like last year with Higuchi, I wished they had given him another hour. But the story was fun and brought up rough points in the industry when he was offered roles in "pink films" but opted not to.
Megumi Odaka seemed like she was having more fun the longer the panel and it was nice panel, I believe the entire panel is up on YouTube already. She was very sweet and talked a little bit more than most when autographing
Otherwise, I always enjoy Kevin Derendorf's (of Maser Patrol blog) panels and his giant robot panel did not disappoint. I also bought his new book which I hadn't known he published, so after I get a chance to read through it I may recommend it on here. It certainly looks to address a wide variety of lesser known kaiju films. Similarly John LeMay who has been putting out some interesting books (or essay collections?) had a fairly good panel as well.
I attended the film restoration panel, Shigeru Mizuki's panel (with heavy technical difficulties likely caused by the yokai) and Stan Hyde/David Dopko's photography panel which all stood out as interesting panels.
There were also some ridiculously good costumes this year.
All in all a very solid G-Fest which with the headliner canceling a month before the show (for health reasons) could have easily gone another direction - I do think the G-Fest community is the best part and much like last year I felt like it was great time to hang out with the people i talk with online. I can't wait for next year